Prior to 1961 control line flying was centered at an area close to Ponchatrain Beach. Mr. Louis Roussel Jr. was President of the New Orleans Levee Board and he wanted us to move because there were plans to build a new subdivision nearby and he was concerned that the noise we created would hinder sales. Mr. Roussel used to monitor the flying area and saw how much fun we were having so he helped us by obtaining the area we now use at City Park. He had his workers clear the area and used the old fence from the Gentilly field to close in the field. (That fence is still here today.) They had an asphalt strip in the area that dated back to the 40’s. There was a building at Gentilly that was moved to the park. The building was termite infested and soon vanished. The asphalt strip was replaced by two cement circles in 1961.
The leaders of the park were not impressed and fought to have us removed from the area. We fought and actually called on the local Action Reporter. Member James Mc KInney was about 8 years old then and the TV reporter took his picture. This picture helped us a lot and we rode out that storm and now have a great working relationship with the leaders of the park.
Lee Lorio was president in 1973 and he went to many National AMA contests. This helped us because he made sure that we did not make the same mistakes that happened at the Nationals at our contests. The club sponsored both AA and AAA contests from 1973 until 1985. 1981 to 1985 was the best years for our contest. At one time we had 83 contestants and 200 spectators. The first year (1973) the club had no money to buy trophies so Robert McKInney started a raffle to pay for the trophies. There was no need for another raffle because the contests were all profitable.
Dickey Bruce did a lot for the club by getting trophies for the contests. When Lee stepped down in 1980 Ed Shearer assumed the presidency.
Chip Cooke ‘s presidency should have been listed as the “fun time”. He was a sport flyer and started the Balloon Bursts and other fun stuff. There were quite a few precision flyers at that time. Blaine Buchtel flew a Nobler and built a few WW-2 profiles in fun scale while in college. He also mentioned that in the early 60’s he flew at the Metairie play ground. As a side line I remember flying a ½ A twin engine P-38 at Metairie play ground on or about 1959.
Tom Alderman was president 80’s and did a lot to keep the club together. At that time the Park leaders did not really want us flying at the present site. They had the Park Police forbid us from parking on the road. When we started parking on the field they chased us off. They wanted us to park on Scout Island which was about five blocks away from the field. Tom Alderman found out that the reason we were stopped from parking was because we did not have liability insurance. Tom worked with the AMA and the park accepted the insurance from them and this stopped the hassling. At this time there was another club formed by Don Gozney and Andy Mims. Their club was named the Dragon Flies. They joined up with us and we formed the present Ring Masters Flying Club. During this period the club had 38 members and had their own newsletter.
When Hurricane Betsy arrived the Park quit maintaining the area because of lack of funds.
Ed Shearer was President of the club when I joined in 2003. At that time Don Gozney was in charge of maintaining the field. Unfortunately the lawn mower decided to die in 1996 We did not have enough money to buy a new one so I donated the use of my Craftsman riding lawnmower.
We were set until…..KATRINA CAME