Professional Landmen's Association of New Orleans - PLANO

History of PLANO - The 1970s

In 1970, the Planning Committee was busy preparing a program for the 1st Annual Landmen's Section of the Mineral Law Institute to be held at LSU in January, 1971. Also that year, at a meeting held on November 3 at the Lamplighter Club in the Rault Center, the PLANO Board passed a resolution establishing a perpetual volunteer blood donor program to aid the community and PLANO members.

1970 appears to have been the first year when the Annual PLANO Crawfish Boil was broadened into a "Nor' Easter" party, complete with live Main lobsters and oysters on the half shell. The cost of the lobsters was $1.35 per pound and oysters were $6.50 per sack. The Nor' Easter party, held at Ponchatoula Beach, was a great success and became an annual event.

1971 was an active year for PLANO, with membership at an all time high of 252 regular members and 15 honorary and life members. In response to the efforts of environmentalists to prohibit leasing of state-owned water bottoms in Lake Pontchartrain for oil and gas development, PLANO formed an Environmental Committee. The goal of the committee was to make available to the public the expertise of PLANO representatives in presenting the oil industry's position on environmental issues and to solicit AAPL support for a similar committee on a national level. As regards educational efforts, PLANO began contributing $100.00 annually to the AAPL scholarship trust, in addition to the PLANO freshman scholarship fund started in 1968. Furthermore, an annual $200 donation to LSU Law School was begun in order to defray expenses associated with the new Landmen's Section of the Mineral Law Institute. Organizational changes included the amendment of PLANO's By-Laws to provide that associate and active members could become non-dues paying life members the next calendar year following their retirement.

Executive Night in 1971 was held at the Royal Orleans Hotel, where partygoers enjoyed Rib Room prime rib dinners. The speaker's topic was the current gas shortage. The cost for the cocktail party and dinner was $15.00. A new party concept begun in 1971 was Valentine's Day at the Fairgrounds Race Track. Other entertainment included the Christmas Dance held at the Fontainebleu Hotel and the Golf Tournament and Dance.

Reciprocity among fellow associations for the benefit of individual members was again evidenced in 1972, when PLANO lent financial support to a fund established to assist a member of the Lafayette Association of Petroleum Landmen in need of extraordinary medical assistance.

On November 29, 1972, the Rault Center fire occurred. The Lamplighter Club in the Rault Center had been a frequent site of PLANO meetings.

The PLANO Environmental Committee focused its efforts on speaking engagements with various civic groups throughout the Southeast in 1972 an 1973. From mid August 1972 through May 1973, the group gave 35 speeches, reaching audiences totaling 1585 people. Many of the speeches were presented to Kiwanis Clubs located in Alabama and Florida. The speech topic appears to have been the same at all locations: "Separating Fact from Fiction Re: Marine Exploration and Drilling." The amount of public interest in the topic came as quite a pleasant surprise to PLANO, and the need for volunteer speakers was great.

PLANO received a special reward at the AAPL annual meeting held the week of June 20, 1972 in Houston. The award was in recognition of exceptional accomplishment in education and advancement of landmen and for involvement in searching for solutions to problems confronting the industry.

In the fall of 1973, PLANO welcomed its first female landman, Ms. Donna Gustafson of Chevron, who was jokingly referred to in the PLANO newsletter as a "landlady."

In the mid-1970's, the nation faced a severe gas shortage. In the fall of 1973, representatives of PLANO addressed the State Mineral Board at hearings concerning amendments to the State Lease Form and possible solutions to the gas shortage. PLANO continued its previously begun efforts to educate the public as to the benefits of offshore drilling, in opposition to environmentalists' efforts to halt marine exploration. Because of their interest in the environment, Garden Clubs were targeted by PLANO for speaking engagements. At one such speaking engagement before the Lakeshore Garden Club, the topic presented was "Undersea Exploration and Drilling."

PLANO membership rose in 1974 to 282 regular members and 19 honorary and life members. The Mineral Code, a product of 10 years' work by the Louisiana State Law Institute, was completed in 1974 and became effective on January 1, 1975. PLANO was active in educational efforts in 1974 concerning the new code and approved co-sponsoring two Mineral Law Institute seminars on the Mineral Code. PLANO also initiated discussions with UNO regarding the institution of a PLM curriculum.

Executive Night in 1974, held at the Royal Sonesta, was attended by 181 members and guests. Senator J. Bennett Johnston was the guest speaker for the evening.

The 1975 AAPL annual convention was held in New Orleans at the Marriott Hotel, June 18 through June 20. Among the activities enjoyed by the 1400 attendees were golf and tennis tournaments for the men, and for the ladies, there were brunches at Commanders Palace and The Court of Two Sisters, a Garden District home tour and a Mint Julep Party on board the "River Queen." For the children, there was a bayou trip on the "Cotton Blossom," and swimming, streetcar and magic parties.

In August of 1975, AAPL President and PLANO member, Wayne A. Blankenship, Jr., spoke at a meeting of the Rotary Club of New Orleans held at the Plimsoll Club on "Who and What Finds Oil." TV coverage of an interview with Mr. Blankenship lead to a later meeting with the TV reporter about putting together a one-half hour film special on various steps leading up to the drilling of a well, such as land, geology and geophysics.

In April of 1976, the PLANO Board of Directors recommended that PLANO adopt an emblem. Members submitted entries for consideration, and PLANO adopted the emblem that is still in use today.

Among the distinguished guest speakers at PLANO functions in 1979 was Representative Bob Livingston, who spoke at a PLANO general meeting held on January 8, 1979, at the New Orleans Hilton, regarding the prospects for energy in the 96th Congress and price decontrol. Furthermore, PLANO was honored to have Dr. James R. Schlesinger, Secretary of the Department of Energy, as guest speaker for the April 10, 1979 Executive Night, held at the Hilton Hotel. Governor Edwards attended the dinner and Dr. Schlesinger's address was the lead story on the front page of The Times-Picayune dated April 11, 1979.

Throughout the 1970's, PLANO social events included the annual golf and tennis tournament, a crawfish and seafood boil, a beer party, a cocktail party and Christmas Dance. Lunch meetings were frequently held at the Petroleum Club or at Kolb's restaurant. During the 1970's, the per person cost at a typical PLANO lunch meeting rose from $3.75 in 1971 to $7.50 in 1979.

In the late 1970's and early 1980's, the U.S. economy was in a recession, which adversely impacted the oil and gas industry. At the same time, the industry faced new tax threats, such as the Coastal Wetlands Environmental Tax Levy, and detrimental legislation. PLANO and AAPL actively urged members to contact elected officials to repeal past legislation. Despite these and other problems, the industry was attempting to meet public demand for increased production. During this time, PLANO membership burgeoned. Total PLANO membership stood at 528 in 1979.

History of PLANO