Gold Cross Ambulance Service of Louisiana, Inc. was a legendary EMS provider in the Greater New Orleans Area from 1971 until until the early 1980. The service started in 1971 with two new Chevrolet low-roof "Carry-All" truck vehicles which had been modified by the Modular Ambulance Corporation-Gordon K. Allen of Dallas, Texas. During that era, a local funeral home provided parish ambulance service through the coronor's office. The first new vehicles were placed in service as Units #101 & 102. In 1973, two additional similar vehicles were placed in service as Units #103 and #104.
Gold Cross was one of the first in the state to begin requiring the 81 hour Federal DOT EMT-Ambulance level training for all employees and voluntarily equipping all units consistant to the newly developed Federal KKK-1822-A ambulance equipment specification list. However, Louisiana choose not to adopt all of the full Federal KKK specs. In 1975, Gold Cross was also the first in the New Orleans area service area to receive VHF Hospital Emergency Access Radio (HEAR) system radios for installation in the rear patient compartment of each modular ambulance in 1975.
Both East Jefferson and West Jefferson Hospitals also received HEAR System base stations enabling direct ambulance-to-hospital communications for the first time in the region. This funding was provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through a grant to the Louisiana Hospital Association which distributed funding through the Greater New Orleans EMS Council.
By late 1974, Gold Cross was already recognized for providing an exceptional level of service within Jefferson Parish. Local officials recognized this and was appointed by the parish government to provide sole provider contract public emergency ambulance service. Gold Cross then ordered and received delivery of fiveType I "Modulances" manufactured by the Modular Ambulance Corporation of Grand Prarie, Texas as units #105, 106, 107, 108 and 109. Gold Cross operated two BLS ambulances in Metarie based at Airline Highway and North Arnoud, one BLS unit at the City of Kenner Central Fire Station on Williams Boulevard (which also served the New Orleans International Airport), one BLS unit in the Third Fire District of East Jefferson parish and one BLS unit based at West Jefferson Hospital. A day shift unit was based out of Oschner Hospital along the Mississippi River and Gold Cross also provided BLS ambulance service to adjoining Saint Charles Parish. In the latter 70's, several 58" raised roof Chevy Wayne/DIVCO "Vangard" van ambulances were placed into service.
In January of 1978, the parish decided to award the contract to National Ambulance Service out of Broward County, Florida. However, Gold Cross continued operation, took delivery of two Dodge "Stratus" raised roof vans and continued operation until the early 80's.
A number of legendary Gold Cross Ambulance staff members in those days included owner John C. Whitney, Aaron "Sarge" Gillard, Don Moreland, Mike Zito (who later became Fire Chief of the Kenner Fire Dept), Kelly Quinn and Bob Chadborne. Gold Cross totally ceased operations in the late 70's.
Keywords: john whitney, modulance, modular, new orleans, jefferson parish, metairie, ambulance
Last Revision Date: 2/11/08 - 7:37 PM