On most Saturdays at the LASTA yard on Jefferson Highway, you will find people of all backgrounds engaged in all manner of tasks. Many of the things they do there have nothing to do with their profession, and some things could be considered a “lost art”. They do it for a sense of accomplishment, for camaraderie, to save a piece of history, to learn a new skill or resurrect an old one.
You might find an electronics technician installing an air conditioner, a chemical engineer replacing a boiler bolt, or a NASA engineer spraying paint. We have mechanics, accountants and railroad employees past and present. Volunteers mow grass, sandblast, create displays for the theatre cars, cook, sell merchandise, edit newsletters, and operate equipment. The list of tasks to accomplish at the yard really is endless and most do not require any previous railroad experience.
Ask any volunteer and you will most likely get a different answer as to why time is spent on a given task. You could get a technical explanation like “if this doesn’t get repaired the water won’t flow”. Or you may hear “old things like people need purpose”. One thing is for sure, LASTA volunteers restore dignity to mechanical pieces of our history – not only through its preservation but its operation. There is an undeniable satisfaction that comes from having a hand in a restoration – in “making things they way they were meant to be”. — Bill Hamblin
Please visit us at the yard on any given Saturday, meet our people, check out the projects and consider becoming part of the Crew! The yard is located at 1501 Jefferson Hwy (New Orleans) across the street from Ochsner Hospital. You do not need any specific railroad experience; we can always use volunteers who can help with:
Directions to the Yard Entrance: Our main gate is located in the rear of the Ochsner parking lot. You can reach our gate by:
- Traveling north on Deckbar Street
- Turn right on Laura Street
- Turn left once passing the parking lot gates
- Drive to the back of the lot and enter by the rear gates