It was a catastrophic weekend for Louisiana as three larger-than-life personalities were killed in two separate plane crashes.
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On Saturday, a Pitts S2-B belonging to aerobatics pioneer Franklin Augustus crashed shortly after takeoff from New Orleans Lakefront Airport. According to reports, the pilot had reported engine problems to ATC and was attempting a return to the field when the two-seat aerobatics biplane went out of control and hit the ground.
Killed in the crash were Augustus and veteran New Orleans news anchor Nancy Parker. An Emmy award-winning news journalist, Parker was riding along with the aerobatics performer and community anti-drug activist Augustus for a story. Augustus, 69, was one of the only African American airshow performers active in the United States. He was also president of the local chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, an organization that pays homage to and continues the work of the famous squadron of WWII United States black aviators.
Parker, 53, was the anchor for WVUE Fox 8 News and the mother of three. She won awards for her coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and a group of descendants of slaves who together bought the plantation where their ancestors had been enslaved.
The NTSB is investigating the crash.
A second accident on Sunday killed well-known fishing guide Theophile Bourgeois III when the Cessna 185 he was flying with two customers crashed in the water southeast of New Orleans. Bourgeois, 55, was a longtime fishing guide but a relative latecomer to fishing air charter, obtaining his commercial seaplane license in 2013. The two passengers in Bourgeois’ 185 were conscious and alert when they were rescued from Chandeleur Sound, part of a web of islands and inlets east and south of New Orleans famous for its sport fishing.