Chalmette, LA (WGNO) —January 2023, marks the 208th-year-anniversary for the Battle of New Orleans. The Battle of New Orleans took place on January 8th 1815, as the last land battle between the United States and the British.
Every year, the battle is commemorated with historic demonstrations. The events allow visitors to see the battlefield come to life, just as if it were the 19th century.
Chuck Hunt is the Superintendent of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, which the Chalmette Battlefield is a part of. He is also a history enthusiast saying, “It’s one of the important milestones on the United States becoming a true nation. Defeating the British was a unifying cause for the nation. Had the United States not prevailed here, England would have been able to reopen negotiations about how the war of 1812 was to end. Had the British prevailed here, the United States might have had a different history.”
The events take place over three days. Friday is when school children get to experience it away from the general public. This year, over 300 children attended, allowing for social studies stories to be brought out of the pages into something they can tangibly enjoy and learn from.
William Cheek is the Chief of Interpretation and Education for the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve and says, “the reenactment really brings to life the story. Instead of just reading in a book or learning it from your teacher, you get a chance to come out here and meet with some of our living history volunteers. When you leave here, you carry that on and want to learn more.”
The reenactment has been going on in some form since the 1960’s. Jim Cowie is one of the reenactors and has been stepping into character for seven years.
He brandishes a period appropriate pistol and tells stories of old saying, “this is what we refer to as a flint locked pistol. This pistol dates back to 1732. It had a range of about 30 yards. that range is if you were lucky. As you suspect it’s very easy to fire this pistol when nobody is firing back at you. When somebody is firing, your aim is going to go down quite a bit. I enjoy what i do and It’s a lot of fun. It demonstrates a lot of history and I get to meet interesting people and learn a lot more.”
The events are free and open to the public. For more information on how to attend click here.