The Post Finds A Home
When the post was chartered in 1951, members were already thinking about a post home, as evident by the $187.00 i in the post building fund. A lot was purchased on the t-10 service road in or near Hogs Alley but it was never used.
On June 25, 1969, Post 350 Veterans Club purchased from Lloyd DeFelice, 4 lots located in square 3O in the Beverly Knoll subdivision in Old Metairie. Beverly Knoll subdivision is tucked in between Airline Drive (US 61) on the south and the railroad tracks in the north between South Causeway Blvd. in the west and the back of Ridgewood Drive in the east. The area was origionally dairy farms and cow pastures before it was subdivided and developed.
Lots 5, 6, and 7 which fronted on Ridgewood Drive was 150 feet x 10O feet. Lot 4-A which was behind the Ridgewood lots and fronted on Fig Street was 63 feet x 185 feet. There was a building at the corner of Ridgewood Drive and Fig Street whose address was 1023 Ridgewood Drive. The 1969 Suburban Directory lists that the building was occupied by the offices of DeFelice Enterprises Inc. and DeFelice Marine Contractors. The 1970 directory list the address as vacant, and the 1971 directory first mentions a American Legion hall occupying the site. lt is apparent that the building was used as an American Legion Hall as soon as it was purchased and was used until the completion of a formal American Legion hall built on that site in 1975.
The fine American Legion hall of Post 350 which one day would occupy the address of 1023 Ridgewood Drive would be built in two phases. This would be financed by two loans. The first on December 23, 1975 for $75,000.00 and the second on May 1, 1989 for $100,000. These loans would be repaid in full.
On November 7, 1974, a building permit was obtained to begin construction on a new American Legion hall. The general contractor was Lawrence (Larry) Guillot and he was a member of the post. Larry laid out the foundation of the building, parking lot, and even the holes that would later be used to construct a fence. Larry left a full-time carpenter/foreman on site to supervise the construction. Post 350 members provided the labor to construct the hall. Work parties were organized in the evenings and on the weekends. Chester Poche, Melvin Jeanne, and Charlie Gravois are remernbered for their hard work.
Before the end of 1975, the main hall was completed. lt measured 80 feet x 86 feet. lt included a main room 80 feet x 60 feet which had a front bar, a 20 feet x 12 feet stage, a men and ladies restrooms, a shower, a commercial kitchen with a walk in refridgerator, freezer, an office and a storage room.
The completion of the main hall allowed the post to begin holding large scale bingos, large scale dances, and rentals, which allowed the post the means to pay down the debt.
The second phase of construction was known as the front hall. The front hall was attached to the front of the main hall. lt was constructed sometimes after the completion of the main hall. To accommodate the construction of the front hall, the original building that was on the site when the veterans club purchased the property was demolished. Larry Guillot was again the general contractor and the front hall was again completed by the labor supplied by post members.
The front hall measured 80 feet x 25 feet which included a front hall and separate bar areas (bar and two small storage rooms). There was also mens and ladies restrooms. Another mens and ladies handicapped restrooms would later be added. There was also a small front office.
On December 23, 1975, Post 350 Veterans Club purchased still another lot at the back of their property. Purchased from Ethel Pico et al, lot 2-A measurements were 100 feet x 185 feet and it fronted on Fig Street. On the property was a 3,000 square foot cinderblock building which predated the subdivision. It was constructed for a dairy. The intent of the purchase was to use the land for additional parking, however it was later decided to rent out the building to a young auto mechanic instead of razing the building as planned. That young auto mechanic rented from the post that building for over thirty years. He was followed by another mechanic for a short time. The building was later rented as general storage by the Deutsches Haus.