Airport opens skies for community

Published 12:08 am Saturday, March 12, 2016

RESERVE — Education met altitude last week as local airport leaders hosted children and adults in a tour of the grounds and sky.

Joey Murray, airport committee chairman for the Port of South Louisiana, said it is an important step in the airport’s development when young members of the community witness and experience the practical use of airplanes.

“It’s the first step to understanding that flying does not always mean getting on a big commercial airliner,” Murray said. “The use of smaller aircraft is known as General Aviation and it connects us to other communities, like our own, that are not served by airlines.”

A March 5 “Fly-In” was hosted by a group of local pilots known as “Hangar 39.” The pilots provided drinks and a small fish fry to guests of the Golden Eagles and other pilots in attendance.

The Port of South Louisiana has operated the airport in Reserve since 2010, when it was acquired from St. John the Baptist Parish and incorporated into Port operations.

Christal Sylvain, John L. Ory Magnet School principal, brought sons Chance and Chase Sylvain to the event.

That morning, their mother told them the day’s plans included a few hours at the airport

Sylvain had been in touch with Lt. Colonel Floyd Miles, a Golden Eagles pilot, who spent the morning preparing small airplanes to introduce young men and women to aviation.

Chase and Chance joined others in taking to the skies.

Sylvain said she passed the Reserve airport hundreds of times but did not know what was happening there on a day-to-day basis.

“It’s wonderful that we have this airport in our Parish,” she said.

Airport said the Port of South Louisiana Executive Regional Airport, formally named the St. John the Baptist Parish Airport, has transformed into an active business and general aviation airport.

It features a longer runway opening itself to a range of aircraft operators, be they small companies conducting business in the River Parishes, larger investing corporations operating executive jets or the Golden Eagles, who last week offered first time flyers like the Sylvain brothers the opportunity to experience flight.

Airport leaders said flying brings an economic boost to the community because, in addition to endeavors with River Region businesses, passengers and pilots spend money on hotel stays, rental cars, fuel and restaurant and attraction visits.

Recently, a number of helicopter operators hired to restore power and clear debris based their operation at the airport in Reserve.

For more information on the Golden Eagles, visit