Relive the history of New Orleans and the United States and celebrate the Battle of New Orleans at its 199th anniversary at the Chalmette Battlefield. This historic New Orleans landmark is part of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park, just downriver from the Bywater and Ninth Ward in St. Bernard Parish, and the anniversary will bring a week of historical reenactments, canon firing demonstrations, talks and lectures, which are all free to the public.
The Battle of New Orleans took place after the Treaty of Ghent had been signed by King George IV, which restored borders between the United States and Great Britain to their pre-War of 1812 lines. With no blogs, text messaging, or modern communication available, word of the soon-to-be peace had not yet reached Louisiana and one of the last battles of the War of 1812 took place here on January 8, 1815 as British General Edward Pakenham and his troops attacked the Americans. General Andrew Jackson readied 1,000 regular soldiers plus an additional 3,000 militia and pirates. The British were no match against the American forces, who managed to kill nearly 300 and wounded over 1,200 British, compared to the American losses of 19 dead and 39 wounded, providing a great victory for General Jackson that would help launch his political rise to President and make him a national hero.
Battle of New Orleans Anniversary Events
The Battle of New Orleans anniversary begins with a wreath laying ceremony honoring the men who fought on Wednesday, January 8 at 10 a.m. on the Chalmette Battlefield.
Two full days of free activities on the battlefield take place on Friday, January 10 and Saturday, January 11. Both days feature canon firing and small arms demonstrations, where you can join in militia training exercises, and learn about historic weapons firing and tactics throughout the day. Relive a historic speech — “To the Embodied Militia” — that united Americans in the common cause against the British, and listen to the 7th U.S. Infantry Band or hear patriotic songs sung during the Battle of New Orleans, all without having to choose sides.
Highlights of the anniversary include a talk and book signing with historian Ron Chapman on his new book, “The Battle of New Orleans: But for a Piece of Wood” at noon on Saturday, and at 2 p.m. on Saturday, join a talk about the role of African Americans during the Battle of New Orleans. On Friday night at 7 p.m., there’s a twilight reenactment of the skirmish that took place the night of December 23, 1814.
To get in on more action, check out Friday’s schedule of events as well as Saturday’s shedule of events. For more information on the Battle of New Orleans Anniversary or the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, of which the Chalmette Battlefield is a part of, you can visit the National Park’s website. Plenty of free parking is available at the nearby St. Bernard Parish Government Complex, with shuttles running continuously between the parking area and the battlefield throughout the anniversary events.
All photos by Paul Broussard