I remember the day like it was yesterday - Hurricane Katrina had made landfall in New Orleans and was quickly devastating and destroying everything I knew about home. My house. My grandparents’ house. My high school. Favorite neighborhood park. Everything.
Although I had moved away from New Orleans a year before the storm, it was absolutely devastating to watch my family and friends weep at the thought of losing all of their possessions. My immediate family evacuated to my home in Atlanta and I can still remember my parents calling back to New Orleans every day inquiring about the state of our home. Constantly asking, “Can we come back?”
Ultimately, they were forced to uproot their lives and move to an entirely different state. “Going home” meant something completely different for me for the next two years. The house they lived in and their new neighborhood never quite felt like it was ours. We never felt like we belonged.
Fast forward to today ... what a difference 10 years makes! An entire decade after Hurricane Katrina, life is almost completely back to normal. The city is thriving and more tourists than ever are visiting to enjoy the rich culture, fantastic food, and resilient people of New Orleans. I’m proud to be a native of New Orleans and even more proud to work for a Company that has played an integral part in rebuilding the spirit of the community.
Southwest Airlines was one of the last airlines to fly out of New Orleans before the storm and was one of the first companies that immediately returned to New Orleans post Katrina. Our Marketing Department held their annual meeting in New Orleans a few months after the storm and learned from business owners that our patronage was the sole reason they would be able to keep their lights on that month. Earlier this year, the Marketing Department returned to the city for their annual meeting - their way of paying homage to the 10 year anniversary.
AirTran Airways Crew Members also stepped up to the cause, supporting New Orleans and the surrounding areas also in the path of Katrina’s devastation. A relief aircraft was flown to Indianapolis to pick up donated supplies, such as 31,000 pounds of water, baby diapers and formula. On hand to help were two members of another New Orleans family – Peyton and Eli Manning. Along with the Employees who volunteered their time, they helped load the much needed supplies into the cargo bays and throughout the cabin. They also flew down on the relief flight to assist the Employees with offloading and distributing the material throughout the region.
Over the past 10 years, Southwest Airlines has committed to supporting the re-emergence of a stronger New Orleans. We’re proud supporters of the Jefferson Parish Chamber, Ashe Cultural Center, Greater New Orleans, Inc., Louisiana Association of Nonprofits and recently partnered with Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s office to support the commemoration of the 10 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
Thank you, Southwest Airlines, for LUVing New Orleans back to health in only a way we can! As we say in New Orleans, “laissez les bons temps roulez” – let the good times roll!
New Orleans was the 11 th city added to the Southwest system, operating one daily nonstop to Houston in 1979. Southwest’s service in New Orleans is stronger than ever, and we currently offer up to 57 daily departures to 21 cities.
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Beginning October 13, Dallas Love Field is FREE! The restrictions of the Wright Amendment will be gone, ushering in nonstop destinations that span from coast to coast. Southwest has been counting down the years and weeks (literally—we have a billboard at the Love Field entrance and a countdown clock in our Headquarters lobby) until we can say, “Goodbye, Wright Amendment. Hello, America!"
We are excited to begin this new era by serving five new nonstop destinations on October 13, followed by ten additional new nonstop destinations on November 2. The addition of these 15 new nonstop destinations will bring Southwest to a total of 31 nonstop destinations from Love Field.
In anticipation of this momentous event, each week we will take a look at one of the cities that North Texas Customers will be able to soon visit nonstop on Southwest. Each post is written by a Southwest Employee who is affiliated with the city and can give an insider’s view of what to see and do while visiting. Enjoy!
I’ve lived in Atlanta for a little more than ten years, and some of my fondest memories here include meeting my husband and tailgating at football games. There’s always something to do or see, and being in the south, Atlanta gives visitors a big dose of Southern Charm! Visiting Atlanta will start and end with excitement, so I definitely suggest you give my city a try.
Atlanta serves connections to over 40 cities with 160 nonstop departures a day. Talk about a lot of visitors! This bustling city is outpouring with an enriching culture of music, history, and family adventure. Atlanta is also home to a Southwest Porch (pictured above), so be sure to swing by! You’ll never see it all, but here’s what I recommend as a good start...
Your Atlanta to-do list:
The Varsity: With many locations throughout Atlanta, The Varsity is infamous for their outstanding hotdogs. It’s a must-try for everyone with a variety of non-hotdog choices as well. Take in the delicious food and rich history!
World of Coca-Cola: No matter what kind of soda fan you are, you have to check out the World of Coca-Cola. Try samples of every Coke variation in the world and enjoy their many attractions.
Local Boutiques: Atlanta has excellent shopping, so spend some time exploring all the fun, local boutiques. You’ll be surprised what you can find!
Atlanta Botanical Garden: More than 30 acres, The Atlanta Botanical Garden is home to some breath-taking sculptures and greenery that will astound and impress. This beauty is fun for all ages!
Georgia Aquarium: The Georgia Aquarium is one of the top aquariums in the southwest. It’s definitely a place to visit, especially if you LUV dolphins! They have some of the coolest shows, and, in fact, Dolphin 1, one of our AirTran aircraft, celebrates them!
Martin Luther King Center: Admission is free at the Martin Luther King Center, and the park is extremely intriguing. The King Center really showcases the impact Dr. King had in Atlanta and the nation.
My City Secret:
Live Music: Many local restaurants and bars host live music. Music is such an integral part of Atlanta, so it isn’t hard to find. Be sure to wonder into at least one live show during your time to experience Atlanta like the locals enjoy it!
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Atlanta business leaders were given the opportunity to chat with Southwest’s CEO, Gary Kelly, at today’s Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce Luncheon. The Insights on Leadership Luncheon, which was attended by more than 400 business, civic, and community leaders of Atlanta, aims to spotlight national leaders and give them the chance to share tips regarding their success in business. During the program, Gary surprised the audience with the exciting announcement that Southwest Airlines will begin service to Atlanta with an initial schedule of 15 daily nonstop departures to five destinations: Baltimore/Washington, Chicago Midway, Denver, Houston Hobby, and Austin! With initial fares for nonstop travel as low as $79 one-way, the first Southwest flights to and from Georgia will be an exciting milestone as Southwest fills a hole in its robust route map. To see a visual of Atlanta’s route map, click here. Here’s what the schedule looks like:
BEGINNING FEB. 12, 2012 (open for sale today on southwest.com 😞
$99 each way between Atlanta and Austin - two daily nonstop roundtrips $79 each way between Atlanta and Baltimore/Washington - four daily nonstop roundtrips $99 each way between Atlanta and Denver - two daily nonstop roundtrips $99 each way between Atlanta and Houston Hobby - three daily nonstop roundtrips $79 each way between Atlanta and Chicago Midway - four daily nonstop roundtrips
The big news was met with applause around the room. After the excitement of the new service was announced, the crowd listened intently as Gary discussed the recent acquisition of AirTran Airways and gave an update on the business. He also spoke very candidly about his career in aviation and even shared of a few of his secrets of success. Attendees were thrilled to meet Gary and the Team of Southwest Employees who traveled from Dallas to attend the luncheon. These trailblazers of the community conveyed their enthusiasm about Southwest beginning service in Atlanta as well as their eagerness to establish a relationship with our Company. Gary expressed his enthusiasm about joining forces with AirTran and assured the crowd that Southwest would work hard introducing ourselves to Atlanta and help support the city’s rich diversity of exceptional nonprofits and organizations. He also asked that Atlantans take the time to get to know Southwest and learn more about Southwest’s Fun-LUVing, unique culture.
To view photos and video from the event, visit swamedia.com
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