Saturn S-1C
History of Michoud
Michoud To The Moon
              Past & Present
      The Michoud Assembly Facility is an 832 acre site owned by NASA and located in eastern New Orleans. The story of Michoud begins when a 34,500-acre royal grant of land was obtained from the governor of the French colony of Louisiana. The original grant was made on March 10, 1763, to Gilbert Antoine de St. Maxent,  St. Maxent owned the plantation for some 31 years.    Two years after St. Maxent's death in 1794, his heirs sold the plantation at public auction to Lieutenant Louis Brognier de Clouet.In 1801. He sold the huge tract of land to Bartolomey Lafon, a prospering iron master with a foundry in New Orleans. At Lafon's death in 1830, the plantation was left to a brother in France, Jean Pierre Lafon. Pierre Lafon came to New Orleans to claim his inheritance but died shortly after arrival. His children sold the plantation in October 1827 to Antoine Michoud, When he died in 1862, the entire tract went to his nephew, Jean Baptiste Michoud, in France.    Baptiste Michoud never saw the Michoud Plantation. When he died in 1877, his only son, Marie Alphonse Michoud, became owner of Michoud Plantation. Then in 1910, he sold the plantation to John Stuart Watson.    The next individual to own the property was a New Orleans realtor, Roch Eugene Edgar de Montluzin du Sauzay. When the United States entered World War II, two defence projects utilized the Michoud site. At the outbreak of the war, the plantation was selected by the U. S. Maritime Commission for shipyard for the building of Liberty ships by Higgins Industries of New Orleans. A 1,000-acre tract of the Michoud Plantation was bought for this purpose. Due to construction delays, this contract was cancelled.      The partially-built shipyard was taken over by the government for building large plywood cargo planes. Higgins Industries was given a contract in October, 1942, for the manufacture of 1,200 of these cargo planes.    The plant was completed and dedicated October 4, 1943. However, the new project did not materialize as planned. The Air Corps soon decided to drop the cargo plane program. The plant was closed November 10, 1945, and taken over by the War Assets Administration. The Michoud facilities at that time consisted of a 1.8 million-square-foot main manufacturing building; a 78,000-square-foot, two-story office building; an 108,000-square-foot, two-story engineering building.    The Army Ordnance Corps  awarded a contract to the Chrysler Corporation of Detroit on January 4,1951, to set up a facility for manufacturing tank engines. The engine was designed to power the Army's Patton and Sherman tanks. The plant was officially opened on November 1951. By 1954, the plant was dormant again.    Wernher von Braun, the director of the NASA George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, directed NASA's attention to the existence of the Michoud site. After an extensive review, NASA announced the selection of the Michoud site on September 7, 1961. The facility fulfilled several important requirements. These included production space and availability, location on the Intracoastal Waterway, a water transport route to NASA's Marshall Center and Cape Carnival (Later to become the Kennedy Space Center) in Florida. Finally, Michoud was nearby to the future test-firing site on the Pearl River in South-Western Mississippi.    Michoud was finally posed to begin its contribution to the successful Apollo Mission.