“The Heart Of Louisiana”

SP 745 and LASTA were the subject of the latest installment of the weekly news feature, “The Heart Of Louisiana” which airs in New Orleans on FOX 8 WVUE-TV.
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Dear Friend of 745, we do not want to disappoint you by not having the engine fired up and giving rides for our annual event. As a result we will postpone the Christmas Party at the LASTA yard, 1501 Jefferson Highway, for one week to next Sunday noon to 3:00. By then we hope to have better weather and our locomotive crew healthy again. We apologize if this causes any inconvenience.

Thanks in advance for your understanding and we look forward to seeing you there.

Barry Keegan

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General Membership Meeting

The General Membership meeting has been schedule for December 5th.  The meeting will start at 7 PM in the Jefferson Car at the yard.

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LASTA Christmas Party

The Christmas Party has been scheduled for December  8th from 12 Noon to 4 PM.

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Follow us on Twitter @SP_745

We have set up a new Twitter account and will be posting updates as we travel to the Gretna Festival. You can follow 745 at-  https://twitter.com/SP_745

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GretnaFest is Approaching

Dear friend of the 745, your LASTA Crew is continuing preparations to return to GretnaFest again this year. There has been tremendous progress to date. We are in the final week to get everything ready.

We will fire the engine on Wednesday, October 2nd. The Public Belt RR will pick up the consist at the yard on the 3rd to bring us over the Mississippi River then. The engine will be fired to 100 PSI to lubricate the cylinders. We will move onto 4th St. In downtown Gretna around noon next Friday. We will not be under fire during the display. Our return is slated for Monday, the 7th.

Come out to see the Gretna Centennial display in the theater cars. The engine cab will be open for tours. Come see all the hard work your Crew has done to prepare.

Operation Lifesaver will join us again in the Caboose with Bigfoot presenting.

We look forward to seeing you all there.

Barry Keegan




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745 Update for Gretnafest

Here are some update photos of the engine to show the progress to date on the engine. Come on out to see 745 in person. We are happy to have the extra help.
Barry Keegan





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Dear Friend of the 745, LASTA is happy to report that the 745 will again be prominently displayed on 4th St. at the upcoming GretneFest on October 4, 5 and 6th. The engine will cross the Huey P. Long with the complete consist on the 3rd sometime during the day and the return on the 7th also during the day.
We are happy to report that the engine is getting prepped for the event with fresh paint and polish. A live webcam will broadcast the trip from the cab. Info to watch this will be provided later.
The theater cars will contain the Gretna Centennial display. Operation Lifesaver will be in the caboose.
We have plenty of work to go with the engine and cars. Volunteers are most welcome to help out on Saturdays at the yard. Come on out and see all the happenings.
Barry Keegan
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Erich Scholz

LASTA’ s Chief Mechanical Officer Erich Scholz passexd away unexpectedly on June 11, 2013.  He was an integral member of the crew and will be missed greatly. Because of his love for railroading, his family requested that any donations in his honor be made to the Louisiana Steam Train Association. Contributions can be mailed to P.O. Box 1084  Metairie, LA 70004 or submitted electronically via the following link:

Erich F. Scholz, 50, passed away unexpectedly on June 11, 2013. Born in Reno, Nev., and raised in Piermont, N.Y., Erich was a self-taught engineer and founder of Downhole Systems, Inc. A designer of geological, geophysical and oceanographic instrumentation, Erich worked for Columbia University and Stanford University, as well as institutions and programs worldwide. Erich worked on every continent, including multiple expeditions to Antarctica, and sailed with the Ocean Drilling Program and on other research vessels. Erich was a lover of animals (especially cats), a tremendous cook, an avid rail fan and Chief Mechanical Officer of the Louisiana Steam Train Association. He is survived by his partner Nancye Dawers of New Orleans, his father Christopher Scholz of New York City, his sister Adrienne Yaron of Brooklyn and other family and friends. A private memorial will be observed.

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LASTA is working hard to arrange and hold its annual celebration of Louisiana’s railroad heritage, STEAMFEST. Due to conflicts with the levee raising project, Audubon Institute was unable to approve our requested SteamFest dates of May 18-19. The preceding weekend, May 11-12, was subsequently approved by the Board as a viable alternative. Unfortunately, not only is May 12th Mother’s Day, but a special free concert starring Irma Thomas is scheduled at the zoo that day. Heavy crowds and traffic are expected; parking will be at a premium.

One or two alternatives are being explored, but we can give neither a firm date nor a location for STEAMFEST 2013 at this moment. Nevertheless, your dedicated Crew continues to press forward with preparations to have SP 745 fired while on display. Also, a wide variety of attractions are planned, from the kiddee train rides and inflatables for children, as well as model trains, and maritime steam engines and other artifacts on display and operating courtesy of Ellsworth Insurance.

Currently, efforts are focused on finding a location to hold STEAMFEST on the weekend of May 18-19. Rest assured, we will issue an update as soon as we have definite information.


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Jan 25, 2013 – Replacement Blood Drive for Ed Ernewein

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Board of Directors

The new board of director was elected at our last meeting.  Long time voluneteer and board member Ray Duplechain has retired and was replaced by Bill Ellsworth.

Elected by the Board

1 – James Amdal
2 – David Bartee
3 – Bill Ellsworth
4 – Barry Keegan
5 – Bill Morris
6 – Roy Tullier

Elected by the Crew

7 – Jim “Bigfoot” Bellmyer
8 – Richard Jacobs
9 – Wayne Minnick

Elected by the General Membership

10 – John Price
11 – Alison Schenk

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Christmas Party (2012)

Dear LASTA Members, you are cordially invited to come out to the LASTA yard next Sunday between noon and 3:00 for our annual Christmas Party. Reliable old Agnes will provide train rides for all to show off the newly reconfigured track. We are also looking for the Jolly Old Elf to make his appearance too for the kids. Snacks and drinks will be provided.

Come on out to see all the newly reconfigured yard with additional track now in service. Your dedicated LASTA Crew led by Yardboss Wayne Minnick has been putting in the time every week to get this track in place. Come see the results of all their labor. Richie, Nitro, Erich II, Allan, Lewis, Mr. Charlie, Matt, Bigfoot, Danny, Little Ed, and many others have put in their time to make this a reality.

Of course 745 will be open for tours. The engine is wrapping up the annual inspection for the FRA with Gerry, Richie, and Keith’s support.

We look forward to seeing each of you again. The yard is located all the way to the rear of the old Sears building back by the Ochsner helipad.

Thanks for your continued support.

Barry Keegan

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LASTA Annual Meeting

The Annual Meeting will be held on Friday, November 30th at 7:00pm in the Jefferson car.

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Annual Meeting

The annual meeting originally schedule for Nov 4th has been postponed. LASTA will post the new date as soon as possible.

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Gretna Heritage Festival

Dear LASTA Members, your LASTA Crew will be in attendance at this year’s Gretna Heritage Festival, however the 745 locomotive and her cars will not. This unfortunate circumstance is due to lack of available rail to switch our equipment caused by the reconfiguration of the yard and adjoining track along the main line. Your Crew continues their efforts to reconfigure track for more mobility in the yard as our stopgap measure until the new location is secured. Plan to come see all the work at the upcoming Christmas party in December. The exact date will be annouced soon.
Meanwhile, we look forward to seeing you at the GretnaFest. Stop by and say hi!
Barry Keegan
LASTA Marketing
LASTA will be present staffing our booth at the usual location on 4th St. and Huey P. Long Ave. along with Operation Lifesaver. We will support our sponsor Ellsworth Corporation with their maritime steam exhibit.
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SP-745 Model Train Raffle

Model Train Winner

 SP-745 Model Train Presentation with Silas Cunningham of New Orleans and LASTA’s Yard Boss Wayne Minick.

On August 5, 2012, the winning ticket for the SP-745 model train raffle was drawn.  The winner, Silas Cunningham of New Orleans, was notified and was quite surprised at his luck.


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Steam Fest

The LASTA Board has decided to postpone Steam Fest for 2012, previously set for May of this year. While LASTA searches for another Steam Fest Coordinator, the Board is reviewing ideas for moving the event from the “Fly” at Audubon Park to a more popular and accessible location.  The goal is to find a location which will allow 745 to actually build up to full steam and move along the track for the enjoyment of patrons.

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Christmas Party

On December 3rd, LASTA will hold our annual Christmas Party.  745 will be under steam for the event that is free to all LASTA members.  Due to yard construction and our limited space, our rides will be shorter than normal.  We are planning to have our rail car (speeeder) operating from the rear of the yard out to the main line.

  • Date: Saturday December 3, 2011
  • Time: 1pm to 4 pm
  • Place: LASTA Yard 1501 Jefferson Hwy Jefferson, LA 70121
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Yard Update – 11-5-2011

Today the crew completed the final work on track two. The switch was removed a few weeks ago and today the final spikes were driven to complete the new section. We moved two box cars across the new track and everything worked well. Track 2 is the last long section in the old yard.

Track one was removed a few weeks ago. Track 3 and 4 have been gone for nearly a year.

Track 1 Removed

Track 2

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