© 2023 Michael M. Palmieri - Guest Author

CL 29001 – Louis H. “Lou” Schultz – 1940 to 2014 – age 73

CL 29012 – Andrew P. “Andy” Sperandeo III – 1945 to 2015 – age 70

CL 29023 – Richard J. “Rick” Boutall – 1947 to 2019 – age 72

CL 29034 – Clyde F. “Bill” Williams – 1941 to 2013 – age 71

The HO-scale Crescent City Model Railroad Club (CCMRC) was founded in New Orleans in 1956 by three high-school students: Louis Schultz, Sydney Weaver and Michael Power. It was Syd who suggested the name CCMRC, and members took turns operating on each other’s layout.

Bill Williams (left) and Lou Schultz (right)

Lou Schultz (right) receives a CCMRC Founders' Award - 2012.

Also in the photo are (left to right) Charlie Ake, Bill Williams, Mike Poche, and Lenny DiMartino.

In 1959 Lou graduated from high school, joined the Naval Reserve and began attending Louisiana State University in New Orleans (LSUNO). Later that year the club enlarged the layout in the Schultz family’s garage and Andy Sperandeo became a member, then Rick Boutall joined about two years later. Andy lived in the same Broadmoor neighborhood as Lou, while Rick was from the suburb of Metairie. In the Fall of 1961 Lou’s parents were planning to move, and then he was called up to active duty because of the Berlin Crisis, so the club rented a truck and relocated the layout to the Boutall family’s attic (Layout No. 2). Lou served on the destroyer escort Huse (DE-145), a training vessel which was based in New Orleans. He was released from active duty in June 1962, got married in October 1963 and received a B.A. from LSUNO in 1965.

Andy graduated from high school in 1963 and then entered Loyola University in New Orleans, where he was in the Army R.O.T.C. program. The next year Jerry Kelly, who owned Hub Hobby Shop in New Orleans along with his brother Roy, asked Andy if he would work there in his spare time so that each of the brothers could take time off for vacations. Hub had the city’s largest selection of model railroad supplies, and Jerry knew that Andy would be well-suited for the job. Andy agreed, and this began his relationship with Hub that would last until he began working for Model Railroader in January 1979.  

Group Photo in front of the "General" - N.O.U.P.T. - New Orleans LA - 1962

Rear Left - Andy Sperandeo

Rear Center - Rick Boutall

Rear Right - Lou Schultz

Andy worked at Hub every summer--and on other occasions-- from 1964 until 1978, except for his active duty in 1970 and 1971. His knowledge of both model and prototype railroading, along with his great personality, made him a local model railroading celebrity! Back when Andy started working, Hub maintained a large stock of unpainted brass locomotives, and he would paint these, and other models, for customers. As of 2022, Hub is still in business and is owned by the nephew of the Kelly brothers; although it relocated after being flooded after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Right after Andy graduated from Loyola in 1967 with a B.A. in English, the Lone Star Region of the National Model Railroad Association held its annual convention in New Orleans for the first time, and Andy served as the assistant convention chairman. He was also in charge of registration and put on a clinic about painting locomotives. Lou was in charge of layout visits; Rick was in charge of door prizes and the CCMRC was responsible for the auction. Lou, Andy, Rick and Bill were all active in the 1974 and 1979 LSR conventions in New Orleans; Lou was the chairman in 1974 and Bill in 1979.

Photo taken by Lou Schultz of Andy Sperandeo - unknown location - 1978

Andy earned a master’s degree at LSUNO in 1969, and went on active duty in the U.S. Army from April 1970 until December 1971. He was stationed at Fort Ord in California, attaining the rank of captain. Fort Ord was adjacent to Monterey, which was the home of well-known model railroader John Allen and his remarkable Gorre & Daphetid railroad, so Andy contacted Mr. Allen and soon became a regular operator on the G&D. Andy was fortunate to have met Mr. Allen when he did, as John suffered a fatal heart attack about a year after Andy left California and then a fire seriously damaged the layout.  

Judge Boutall's Attic

Clyde “Bill” Williams first visited the CCMRC when the layout was in the Boutalls’ attic. He was an officer in the Army, having graduated from Tulane University in 1963 with a B.A., and he served in both South Korea and South Viet Nam, and reached the rank of captain. Bill became a club member after he completed his military service around 1971 and soon joined the New Orleans Police Dept., where he retired as a lieutenant.  

Bill Williams checking out the Right-of-Way on Lou Schultz's C&O Allegheny Subdivision Layout - 2012

Rick earned a B.A. from Tulane in 1968 and a J.D. in 1972.

The CCMRC was incorporated on 24 March 1969 and soon after, Layout No. 2 was dismantled and construction on Layout No. 3 began. This was in member Duane Berry’s garage, but this work ended a year later when Duane was transferred to Seattle, so that layout was scrapped and the club then relocated to the layout in Lou’s attic (Layout No. 4).

In 1971, about a year after the CCMRC moved into Lou’s attic, Lou began attending Loyola Law School, while still working full time as an adjuster for The Hartford Insurance Co., and in August 1972 he told the CCMRC that it could no longer meet in his attic as this was a distraction from his studies. Nevertheless, he remained active in club affairs and still hosted occasional operating sessions. In January 1973 club member Joe King learned that the clubhouse of the M.A. Green Civic Association in the suburb of Metairie was for sale. Lou came up with a creative way to finance the purchase of the building with a conventional loan and by selling bonds to club members. The club’s offer of $16,000 was accepted and the Act of Sale took place on 10 May 1973. Lou graduated from Law School in May 1974 and the last note on the building was paid off in 1991.

CCMRC Bond Certificate purchased by Michael M. Palmieri and

signed by Treasurer Louis H. Schultz on April 20, 1973.

In 1974, as the CCMRC was about to begin construction of Layout No. 5 in its new clubhouse, Lou and Bill decided to start their own hobby shop, so that the club and its members could purchase model supplies at a discount. Hebert’s Hobbies (named after one of Lou’s tropical fish) was registered with the State on 3 March 1976, with Bill as president, Joe King as V.P. and Lou as secretary/treasurer and registered agent. Over time, the need for Hebert’s declined and the business filed its last annual report with the state in 1984.

The Three Amigos!  

Left to Right: Andy Sperandeo, Rick Boutall, and Bill Williams

Andy taught at the University of Texas in Austin between January 1972 and December 1978 while working towards a Ph.D. in English, and he was an operator on David Barrow’s Cat Mountain & Santa Fe layout; but he spent each summer in New Orleans where he would live with his mother, work at Hub Hobby Shop and attend CCMRC sessions on Friday evenings. In 1977 he answered an ad in Model Railroader for an associate editor. The magazine hired someone else (Jim Kelly), but they told Andy that they would keep his application on file for an upcoming position. He never expected to hear from MR again, but they contacted him the next year and he began working there in January 1979. He was promoted to editor-in-chief in 1993, later became executive editor, and became a contributing editor after his retirement in August 2011.

Andy’s move to MR ended his regular involvement with the CCMRC, although he did author a story about the club for its 25th anniversary which appeared in the April 1981 issue. Lou’s involvement with the club began to decline around 1985 when he started constructing a new home in Metairie, and then he began building and operating on a large layout in his attic. Bill became a regular operator on Lou’s layout and became less active in the club, while Rick moved on to other interests. However, Lou did attend the club’s 50th anniversary get-together on 28 October 2006.

Bill passed away in 2013 in a sleeping car on a train going from New York to Orlando. Lou and Andy were both in poor health prior to their deaths in 2014 and 2015, so their passings were not unanticipated. Rick died unexpectedly in 2019.

Web-Master Notes:

Many thanks to Michael Palmieri for penning this blog and to Mike Walsdorf for providing the historic photos!

It is a humble honor to present the Crescent Lines Founders' Fleet which celebrates the contributions of Lou Schultz, Andy Sperandeo, Rick Boutall, and Bill Williams to this great hobby!  We hope this exercise will spawn additional Founders' Fleet projects as there are many other model railroad clubs across North America that have an equally proud and rich history to share.  

While supplies last the following Founders' Fleet cars are available:

CL 29001 - Louis H. Schultz

CL 29012 - Andy Sperandeo

CL 29023 - Richard Boutall

CL 29034 - Clyde F. "Bill" Williams