A Publication of Wichita Eisenhower Airport

January 2020


The Best Time in the Big Easy The Best Time in the Big Easy

Eat, drink and Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Kinfolk Brass Band Kinfolk Brass Band

Kinfolk Brass Band

They have their own way of talking in New Orleans. Consider Lagniappe, pronounced lan-yap. The word means something extra with your meal, like a free side of fries with your po’boy. “Where y’at?” means how are you. The answer in New Orleans is always “awright.” And then there is this bit of French that you will hear a lot of around there: “laissez les bon temps rouler.” It means let the good times roll.

New Orleans is all about the good times. Eating, drinking and making merry are the local industry.

Winter and Spring are the best times to be in the Big Easy. It’s Mardi Gras season. The holiday, which falls on Feb. 25 this year, brings out the best in the city. The streets explode with color as the locals don costumes and parade through on elaborate floats. The two-and-a-half weeks leading up to the holiday can be just as much fun. It’s called Carnival and the city stays lively with parades and street performances. It’s like a non-stop party.

Here’s another reason to think about booking a trip right now. The annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Fest is the last weekend of April and the first weekend of May. See some of the best performers in the world on stage at the fairgrounds, then hit Frenchmen Street in the French Quarter for a nightcap. The musicians you’ll discover playing along this row are just as entertaining as you’ll find at the fest, they’re only less famous.

Musician busking Musician busking

Musician busking

French 75 Bar French 75 Bar

French 75 Bar

French Quarter architecture French Quarter architecture

French Quarter architecture

New Orleans was founded by the French and still has a European feel. You’ll see it in the architecture, taste it in the buttery cuisine and hear it in the language. It’s an international port city and over the years has been peopled and flavored with African, Caribbean, German, Irish and Sicilian influences.

You’ll find all those influences in the French Quarter, a walkable district of old-world shops, restaurants and bars. It’s what you think when you think New Orleans. Only the nearby Mississippi River and Garden District compete with the Quarter in charm, but it’s not much of a contest. You’ll want to see Jackson Square, the eccentric heart of the Quarter that fronts St. Louis Cathedral, the most iconic building in the city. The park is also home to other historical buildings and museums that tell the city’s story, from Mardi Gras to Katrina. The Square itself is an attraction, always bustling with street performers, tarot card readers, artists and other beautiful weirdos.

St. Louis Cathedral St. Louis Cathedral

St. Louis Cathedral

Tarot card reading Tarot card reading

Tarot card reading

The menu is famously distinctive in New Orleans, a mix of Cajun and Creole and crawfish. You can’t go wrong with the gumbo or the beignets. Order a po’boy sandwich from anywhere. For finer dining, try Galatoire’s. Jackets for men and reservations required, but worth it for the food and atmosphere. It’s a near museum of New Orleans, where things are said and done a little differently and where, as the locals say, you are bound to “pass a good time.”

Red beans and rice Red beans and rice

Red beans and rice

Beignets Beignets



  • The Garden District

    The Garden District

    The Garden District is overgrown, lush New Orleans. St. Charles Avenue especially is lined with enormous live oaks and stately mansions, all cut through by a charming streetcar.

  • Bourbon Street

    Bourbon Street

    Bourbon Street is as advertised. It’s a long strip of neon, bars, bachelorette parties, frozen Hurricane drinks to go and good and bad decisions.

  • Lafayette Cemetery No. 1

    Lafayette Cemetery No. 1

    New Orleans is known for its cemeteries of raised mausoleums. Lafayette, in the Garden District, is as Gothic as they come, complete with creeping vines and faded statuary.

  • Voodoo Museum

    Voodoo Museum

    You’re going to see nods to VooDoo everywhere around town. You should get the whole story — the secrets, the history, the zombies — at the New Orleans Historic VooDoo Museum.

  • Sydney & Wanda Besthoff Sculpture Garden

    Sydney & Wanda Besthoff Sculpture Garden

    More than 90 sculptures by world-renowned artists arrayed along a shady walking trail in a forest of magnolia and live oak trees.

  • Palace Market

    Palace Market

    On Frenchmen Street, you’ll find the Palace Market, a bazaar for some of the city’s funkiest creatives. Weird t-shirts, odd crafts, handmade jewelry and other artisanal souvenirs.

  • Preservation Hall

    Preservation Hall

    Jazz is no joke in New Orleans, it’s a living tradition. At Preservation Hall, you’ll hear the local masters of the form. They keep it more than alive — they keep it jumping.

Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport

New terminal at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport which opened November 6, 2019

End Plane

Notes from Camp David Notes from Camp David

Sheree Utash goes to Washington

Some people get invitations to the White House. Only a fortunate few ever see Camp David, a secluded getaway for presidents, their families and visiting dignitaries. Sheree Utash has been to both, with the stories and souvenirs to prove it. Utash is president of WSU Tech and vice president of Workforce Development for WSU. That’s a mouthful. Suits her, though, as she’s a mile-a-minute talker who gets things done. “I would sum my job up to say that we are an economic engine to develop a workforce for our city and our region,” she says. She does the job so well she was tapped by the Trump administration to serve on its American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, which is led by Ivanka Trump, with the goal of filling the skills gap nationwide. It’s populated with CEOs from Fortune 500 companies, a couple of governors and Utash, “a girl from Wichita, Kansas,” as she says. That’s how she recently found herself in a limo at the gates of Camp David. Eisenhower Air spoke with her by phone as she was driving through the Flint Hills, on her way back from a meeting at the state capital. She told us what it was like to visit Camp David, take a meeting at the White House with Trump, and about one of the few times in her life when she has ever found herself speechless.

Tell us about the advisory board.

It has been a tremendous opportunity. It is a board of 25 people. Two of them are governors, from Iowa and Indiana, and there are about 19 CEOs. You've got the CEOs of Apple, IBM, Home Depot, Walmart, VISA, Lockheed Martin, Siemens Energy, along with several others. It is chaired by Ivanka Trump and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. We truly have a skills gap in America. We don't have enough people to fill the jobs we have. It doesn't mean we don't have the people, it means that they don't have the necessary education and training and skills they need to be able to enter the workforce today. That is the task at hand, to create policy reform and actionable plans to try to reduce the skills gap.

White House Meeting White House Meeting

American Workforce Policy Advisory Board meeting at the White House

How did you get on this board?

When the Department of Education calls you, the first thing you think is that you’re in trouble. But they said they wanted to congratulate me on being named to the board and thank me for the work I would be doing for them. I was looking around, thinking of the days of Candid Camera, and thinking that somebody was pranking me. Honestly, I was at a complete loss for words which doesn’t happen to me very often, so I just paused for the longest time and said thank you, and you’re welcome.


Never in my life would I have thought I would have an experience like this

Sheree Utash

Sheree Utash outside the White House

Sheree Utash outside the White House

Your first meeting was at the White House. What was that like?

I stayed in a hotel close by and I walked. I had never been there, outside of as a tourist. It was March and it was cold. I had my purse, iPad and notebook, and I was standing outside the door, kind of in a surreal state. I looked over and saw black limos and SUVS pulling up. Out of those came the governors and the CEOs. All of them had an entourage. I just found it funny, and I still to this day remember thinking, ‘Here’s a girl from Wichita, Kansas, walking into the White House with all of these CEOs and governors.’

We had a reception in the East Wing and then our first board meeting was actually in the private dining room. Never in my life would I have thought I would have an experience like this.

Vice President Pence and President Trump came in and spent about 45 minutes with us. They went around the room and introduced themselves. I’m sure they know the governors and they know the CEOs. I will say, their reception to me was extremely welcoming. No different than I witnessed with CEOs and governors.

Marillyn Hewson, CEO of Lockheed Martin Marillyn Hewson, CEO of Lockheed Martin

Marillyn Hewson, CEO of Lockheed Martin, addresses her remarks during the March 6, 2019, board meeting

WSU Tech ranked second among Fastest-Growing Colleges WSU Tech ranked second among Fastest-Growing Colleges

The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked WSU Tech second among its “Fastest-Growing Colleges, 2006-2016”

Apple CEO Tim Cook shares comments Apple CEO Tim Cook shares comments

Apple CEO Tim Cook shares comments at the March 6, 2019, American Workforce Policy Advisory Board Meeting

What did you tell them?

I said I was from the Air Capital of the World, and we certainly are experiencing a skills gap. And that through my work in higher ed, along with my engagement in the industry, I clearly understand the issues and believe I can be a boots-on-the-ground worker bee. That I really understand it and can be the voice of practicality and pragmatic thinking on the board.

Through this whole thing, I have really tried to portray and reinforce every single chance I get, that Wichita is the Air Capital of the World. That we are all about aviation, and at the same time, we are always looking to diversify. I have been playing up Wichita big.

Nice. Sounds like you’re bringing a much-needed perspective. Any other highlights from the White House?

Let me tell you what happened afterward. We actually went out on the front lawn of the White House, press everywhere, and made comments to the media. Of course, that was super intimidating because there was the governor of Iowa and several CEOs making comments, and there was me. When it was over they all went back to their SUVs and their limos. I walked down the driveway.

I didn't know what was going on in those green media tents because I had never seen all of that before. Fox and CNN and NBC are all lined up there. So I stopped and said hi. They were just so nice. They said, ‘Hey, we’ve got heaters in here if you want to warm up.’ So I stopped in and warmed up and asked questions. And then made my way down the driveway of the White House and out to the street. Ha. Wichita, Kansas, girl goes to D.C. It was the craziest thing ever.

You’ve also been to Camp David.

Going to Camp David was a tremendous honor. I will tell you that Walter Bumphus, who is CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges, asked if I was going and I told him yes. I also said that I dreamed of a day when I could go to a board meeting and step out of a limo. He said, ‘I’ve got one of those. You want to ride with me?’ He made my dream come true.

You’ve arrived. What was the camp like?

What an experience we had. It is a wooded area about a half-hour out of DC. Very hilly, very wooded. Just a really gorgeous area.

Lodge at Camp David Lodge at Camp David

Lodge at Camp David

We went to a reception to start with, a walking tour with the officer that runs Camp David. It’s run by the Marines. We learned Camp David was named after President Eisenhower’s grandson, David. It was originally built by Franklin D. Roosevelt as a place of respite for the president and their families.

The cabins are nice, but they are not anything elaborate. They’re very cabin-ish.

Pool outside Aspen Lodge Pool outside Aspen Lodge

Pool outside Aspen Lodge

U.S. Marine stood guard by the camp’s original sign U.S. Marine stood guard by the camp’s original sign

U.S. Marine stood guard by the camp’s original sign

President Richard Nixon and his wife Pat President Richard Nixon and his wife Pat

President Richard Nixon and his wife Pat walked their dogs Pasha, Vicki and King Timahoe at Camp David

We had a really nice dinner in the Shangri-La cabin (I believe that was the name of it). Vice President Pence joined us and I had the privilege of sitting to his right at a table of eight. He was most gracious and very relaxed.

One of the funny things was when we first sat down, there were menus on our plates. He looked at the seven of us and said, ‘If you would like me to sign your menus, please feel free to send them around. I know that everyone that comes here wants to do that. I was that person at one time. Feel free to send them over. And feel free to take those nice paper towels that are in the bathroom.’ They were a very heavy paper-type towel, but they have an engraving of a Camp David symbol on them. He said, ‘My wife, Karen, that is one of the first things that she wanted to do when we came here.’

Did you take one?

I did.

Not many people get to see Camp David. You must feel fortunate.

We were on the patio and getting ready to go on this tour — the two governors were there and a lot of the CEOs were there — when the officer and our tour guide asked, ‘Has anybody been here before?’ Nobody had been there before.

It was absolutely incredible, just a spectacular opportunity. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to be a part of that. To witness it and to walk those historic grounds and to see those places. I would also say, if I were president, I would go there often.


  • Franklin D. Roosevelt

    May 1943

    Franklin D. Roosevelt went fishing with Winston Churchill at Shangri-La, later called Camp David.

  • Dwight D. Eisenhower

    October 2, 1960

    President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s grandson David Eisenhower posed with his name at the entrance to Camp David. President Eisenhower renamed the retreat “Camp David” in honor of his grandson and father.

  • John F. Kennedy

    March 1963

    President John F. Kennedy walked with his son John Jr. while his daughter Caroline enjoyed a ride on her pony.

  • Lyndon B. Johnson

    June 1967

    President Lyndon B. Johnson (2nd from right) met with Prime Minister Harold Holt (2nd from left) and others at Camp David.

  • President Jimmy Carter

    September 1978

    President Jimmy Carter met with Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin at Camp David.

End Plane

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Editor Valerie Wise, Wichita Airport Authority
Creative Agency Greteman Group
Creative Director Sonia Greteman
Art Director Tasha Wentling
Contributing Writer Barry Owens
Photography New Orleans & Company, Nan Palmero, The New MSY, WSU Tech, The White House, Sheree Utash

Eisenhower Air is published for the traveling public by the Wichita Airport Authority. We welcome your comments and suggestions. Please direct them to Valerie Wise at vwise@wichita.gov. We also encourage you to share articles through social media and email. Help us spread the word about the good things happening at our airport.

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