Southwest gives specialty aircraft to New Orleans after nearly 40 years of service

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NEW ORLEANS -- There was a party at Louis Armstrong International Airport Wednesday morning celebrating Southwest’s service in our fine city for nearly four decades.

The airline gave the city a specialty aircraft called Louisiana 1. It’s a Boeing 737-700 painted with the Louisiana state flag.

It took almost 12 days to paint with 14 different colors using a crew of 15 people.

A second line band led all the guests out on the tarmac to see it. Southwest Airlines has dedicated 12 of these aircraft in other parts of the country.

New Orleans and Southwest have a lot of history. It was the first city that Southwest served outside the Texas border in 1979, with one nonstop departure to Houston.

Now the airline operates more than 50 daily non-stop departures to 21 destinations from the Crescent City.

If you missed out on this fun, don't worry, there will be a second line downtown at 4 p.m. starting at the Superdome, rolling down Poydras toward the river, ending at the Le Meridien.