Steam Fest celebrates history, steam engines at The Fly this weekend


NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – Ahhh, the sweet sounds of a steam engine.

The Southern Pacific, nicknamed “the Spirit of Louisiana,” is rolling into town for the weekend.

The annual Steam Fest features a weekend of history, music and culture on the banks of the Mississippi River. It celebrates the old steam trains that roared to and from New Orleans between the 1920s and 1950s

SP 745 is the star attraction of Steam Fest. The nearly 100 year old steam engine was built just across the river in Algiers in 1921 and is the only surviving Louisiana built steam locomotive. The old girl sat as a cold, static display in Audubon Park from 1956 to 1984 when she was pulled out of the park to make room for the expansion of Audubon Zoo.

Now 745 returns to Audubon Park as a hot, living, breathing, steaming, fully restored blast from the past! Visitors will be able to view this monstrous mechanical marvel and climb aboard 745 to blow her whistle and see how a real steam engine operates. Steam Fest is a rare chance to experience a unique and significant piece of New Orleans and Louisiana railroad history up close and personal.

Hazel and the Delta Ramblers, a Steam Fest favorite, will perform, along with three other musical groups – Bob and The Thunder, River Rats and Jenn Howard and Band. There will also be a bounce house and rock wall climbing to add to the excitement for the kids.

It takes place from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Riverview Park (The Fly) behind the Audubon Zoo.