This exhibition commemorates the Battle of New Orleans. The overwhelming defeat of the British Redcoats at the hands of a rag tag
band of “dirty shirts”—as the British derisively called their foes—captured the American imagination, contributed to a sense of national identity and propelled Andrew Jackson to the White House. Using a variety of artifacts, images and documents, the exhibit opens with an exploration of the battle’s history emphasizing the diversity of its participants and closes with an investigation of how the battle has been remembered, commemorated and represented.
This exhibition explores the diverse cultures that make up Louisiana, from American Indians and the first European settlers to those who
fought for African-American rights following the Civil War. Along the way, you will discover Acadian, Jewish, Irish and German immigrants as well as enslaved Africans, all of whom left their imprint on the state’s culture. Three floors of exhibits highlight the growth of the Mississippi River trade system, the development of Louisiana’s cotton and sugar plantations, slave resistance, the Civil War, epidemics, mourning customs and entertainment and the arts.
Living with Hurricanes: Katrina and Beyond
Combining eyewitness accounts, historical context, immersive environments and in-depth scientific exploration, this exhibition shows the impact of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
and how Louisiana is learning to live more safely with hurricanes. Oral histories and artifacts, such as a Coast Guard helicopter basket and a Charity Hospital banner, help convey the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Interactive exhibits explore the factors that led to the disaster. An oversized animated map shows the major levee failures and the progression of the flood, and several videos and hands-on activities explore levee engineering, wetlands loss, hurricane science and disaster management. In the closing film, dozens of residents reflect on life in coastal Louisiana and pledge to take action for a better future.
This exhibition is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grants No. DRL-0813558. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in the exhibition are those of the Louisiana State Museum and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. To learn more about hurricanes, visit Hurricanes: Science and Society , developed by the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography in partnership with the Louisiana State Museum.
50th Anniversary of Hurricane Betsy and 10th Anniversary of Katrina and Rita
An exhibition of photographs from the museums permenant collection, the images show the resilience of the people of Louisiana in the face
of adversity and their enduring goodwill toward neighbors in times of disaster. Sept. 9, 2015, marks the 50th anniversary of Hurricane Betsy. Nicknamed Billion-Dollar Betsy because it was the first storm to cause more than $1 billion in damage, the category 3 storm came ashore at Grand Isle, killing 58 in Louisiana and flooding more than 22,000 homes in greater New Orleans. Forty years later, hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused far greater havoc. Both storms at sea reached Category 5 and weakened to Category 3 before making landfall. On Aug. 29, 2005, Katrina first came ashore at Buras, and then at the Louisiana-Mississippi border, becoming the costliest hurricane in U.S. history and the third deadliest, with 1,833 killed. On Sept. 24, Rita hit the Texas-Louisiana border, with minimal loss of life, though more than 100 deaths were attributed to evacuation. View image highlights Caroline Koch, Mandeville Street in the Marigny, New Orleans, Tom Neff, October 20, 2005 (2008.020.07) here.
Since 1699, when Pierre Le Moyne, sieur d’Iberville, celebrated Shrove Tuesday at his encampment on the Mississippi River, Mardi Gras has
been an integral part of Louisiana’s culture. Experience this extraordinary tradition through rare artifacts, scores of magnificent costumes, spectacular displays and engaging videos. Discover rural maskers in cone-shaped hats chasing chickens, the art of float construction and a statewide devotion to masquerade. From a virtual float ride through crowds begging for beads to a roomful of sparkling crowns and scepters, this exhibition will get you in the carnival spirit.
Iris and the Goddesses of Carnival
The Louisiana State Museum, in partnership with the Krewes of Iris, Muses and Nyx, will present Iris and the Goddesses of
Carnival, an exhibition commemorating the centennial of Iris and exploring the evolution of women’s krewes in New Orleans from the 1890s to the present. The exhibition features rare artifacts from the museum’s vast collection as well as from various lenders, including the earliest-known existing Iris queen’s dress, worn in 1941 by Irma Cazenave, wife of Count Arnaud Cazenave, on loan from Arnaud’s restaurant.
Named after the Greek goddess of the rainbow, the Krewe of Iris is the oldest women’s carnival organization in New Orleans. At the time of its 1917 founding, men’s groups ruled Mardi Gras festivities, sponsoring all of the parades and most of the balls. But just as women campaigned for the vote and sought expanded roles in public life, they also carved out new social spaces. Iris built upon two decades of women’s efforts to create carnival organizations.
Over the course of the next century, more women’s krewes joined the fun, from numerous societies in the early 1900s to 21st century parading clubs, such as Muses, Nyx and Femme Fatale.
The Old U.S. Mint began producing coins for the United States in 1838. During the Civil War, it briefly issued Confederate coins, making this mint the only one to make both American and Confederate coins. Minting operations ceased in 1909, and for the next several decades the building served a number of federal entities, including the Navy and the Coast Guard. A small exhibition details the history of the building’s coin production.
The U.S. government donated the Mint to the Louisiana State Museum in 1966. Today, the building houses changing exhibitions, the Louisiana Music Collection, the Louisiana Historical Center and a performance venue.
The exhibition has more than 60 pieces of contemporary Southern art by 34 self-taught artists. These two- and three-dimensional works of
art defy labels. While this kind of art has been described as outsider, folk, naive, visionary or nontraditional, none of these terms adequately describes the art that Dr. Kurt Gitter and Alice Rae Yelen collected. Each artist has created a highly personal statement that represents an individualistic response to his or her environment. The artists do share a lack of formal education, including knowledge of color theory, composition, form and academic convention, and a regional identity. All are from the South, and the majority lives or lived in Louisiana.
Part of the Lower Pontalba Building on Jackson Square, this row house represents mid-19
th century life in New Orleans. Because residents were tenants who lived here for only a few years at a time, the 1850 House furnishings do not represent any single family. Rather it reflects mid-19th-century prosperity, taste and daily life in New Orleans. Some pieces have a history of ownership in Louisiana, while local furniture shops made or sold others. The house comprises several revival styles that were popular in the 1850s, including Rococo revival, Gothic revival and classical revival.
Highlights include a six-piece rosewood and lemonwood bedroom suite in the French taste, made for a Royal Street home and attributed to the warerooms of Prudent Mallard. Also featured are a parlor table, dresser and crib labeled by Irish-born New Orleans manufacturer William McCracken. In the dining room, Senator John Slidell’s Paris porcelain and silverware by New Orleans silversmith Anthony Rasch are illuminated by a Cornelius & Baker gasolier. The walls are hung with paintings by French-trained artists Jacques Amans, Jean Joseph Vaudechamp, Aimable Desire Lansot and François Bernard, all of whom came to New Orleans in the early to mid-19
The Palm, the Pine, and the Cypress: Newcomb Pottery of New Orleans
Founded in 1896 with a mission to train and employ young women as professional artists, the Newcomb College art pottery in
New Orleans played an important role in the international Arts and Crafts Movement of the early 20th century. Newcomb artists drew inspiration from Louisiana's native plants and wildlife to create the distinctive forms and patterns prized by collectors today. The Palm, the Pine, and the Cypress: Newcomb Pottery of New Orleans presents more than 50 glazed ceramic pieces paired with archival photographs documenting the pottery's history through 1940.
Grounds for Greatness: Louisiana and the Nation
Grounds for Greatness: Louisiana and the Nation shows Louisiana’s impact on the nation and the world. From the Louisiana Purchase to the critical role Louisiana played in our nation’s wars (including the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812, the Civil War and both World Wars), you will come to understand the scope and importance of the historical contributions of Louisianians. A section on Governor Huey P. Long and jazz pioneer Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong showcases the larger-than-life personalities and accomplishments of two of the state’s most notable residents.
Displays also examine the Mississippi River, from its environmental significance to its role in commerce. Louisiana’s diverse wildlife, agricultural history and fishing and hunting traditions comprise the Natural Abundance feature. A detailed segment on the Poverty Point World Heritage Site in northeast Louisiana investigates these exceptional prehistoric American Indian earthworks.
Lastly, slavery and civil rights are explored, with an emphasis on the 1896 landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision of
Plessy v. Ferguson, the Louisiana case that upheld the “separate but equal” practices of legal segregation despite the concerted efforts of Homer Plessy and other activists. This section ends with a look at the Baton Rouge bus boycott of 1953 and its role in the modern civil rights movement. Artifacts in Grounds for Greatness include a 42-foot wooden shrimp trawler, a Civil War submarine, a mid-1800s cotton gin and a sugarcane harvester.
Experiencing Louisiana: Discovering the Soul of America explores Louisiana’s people and cultures. You will take a road trip through the state, exploring regional culture, religious practices, foodways and architecture. Another feature highlights the rich legacy of Louisiana music—jazz, rhythm and blues, blues, country, zydeco, swamp pop and Cajun music—and its global influence. Key artifacts include Clifton Chenier’s accordion, Buddy Guy’s polka-dot guitar and Webb Pierce’s stage costume, made by the famous Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors. A final exhibition focuses on another cornerstone of the Louisiana experience, Mardi Gras, by exploring celebrations and traditions throughout the state.
The visual arts have occupied a central place in the collecting mission of the Louisiana State Museum since its 1906 founding.
Captain Samuel Levy, Bernard Moses, 1888, oil on canvas, 1991.088 Louisiana Inspired: Selections from the Permanent Collection allows visitors to glean a profound sense of more than two centuries of the state’s history and culture.
This exhibition shows the stylistic range of our state’s art, including French neoclassicism in the 1830s and 1840s sparked by the arrival of Jean-Joseph Vaudechamp and Jacques Amans, the Grand Manner style that predominated on the eve of the Civil War, mid-20th century modernism, and the socially conscious art of the early 21st century.
Artifacts Figurative sculpture includes a marble bust of Sophie B. Wright by an unidentified sculptor. Wright (1866-1912) established the first free night school in New Orleans at a time when many children worked during the day and Louisiana had no compulsory education law. In 1912, the first public school for girls in the Crescent City was named in her honor. Click
here to view image highlights of the exhibition, here for exhibition fact sheet.
Exploring this National Historic Landmark will offer both a tour through a historical structure and the culture that surrounded the home throughout history.
Situated on the banks of Bayou Lafourche, this was the residence of two of Louisiana’s significant political figures: Governor Edward Douglas White and his son,U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Edward Douglass White. The exhibition in this historic house tells the story of the Bayou Lafourche area, tracing the history of Chitimacha Indians, Acadian settlers, slavery, sugar cane plantations and the White family.
Bayou Lafourche, stretching a hundred miles from Donaldsonville to the Gulf of Mexico, is the youngest of the Mississippi River’s abandoned distributaries. In 1904 the construction of a dam at Donaldsonville separated the bayou from the Mississippi. The first residents on Bayou Lafourche were American Indians, who may have arrived as early as 500 A.D. In the late 19th century, Acadians, seeking a home after the British deported them from Canada, arrived at the invitation of Spain. By the 1790s, Acadians, Isleños (Canary Islanders), Chitimacha Indians, French Creoles and African slaves formed a new culture along Bayou Lafourche.
The region’s sugar industry grew rapidly in the early 1800s, as wealthy American and French Creole planters invested in large sugar plantations. After the Civil War and the end of slavery, the transition to wage labor resulted in labor strife, culminating in an 1887 Knights of Labor strike that ended in violence with a victory for the planters. In the 20th century, sugar producers modernized with tractors and harvesters, resulting in a reduced workforce.
You will also learn about the political careers of Edward Douglas White, governor for one term and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for five terms in the 1830s and 1840s, and his son, Edward Douglass White, a U.S. senator (1891—1894) and United States Supreme Court justice (1894—1921); chief justice beginning in 1910). Among the younger White’s possessions on display are his law books, a chair he used while serving as chief justice and a 19th-century steamer trunk.
The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame has more than 300 men and women on its roster. Our interactive database can provide
you with information on Hall inductees. You can look up figures by name, sport, hometown or alma mater and find out more about his or her career and biographical information.
Every year in June new people are formally inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame at the Hall of Fame Induction
Ceremony in Natchitoches. The 2016 inductees include Negro Leagues player and manager “Gentleman” Dave Malarcher, Louisiana College women’s basketball player and coach Janice Joseph-Richard, former Major League Baseball All-Star and Olympic gold medalist Ben Sheets, longtime St. Thomas More High School football coach Jim Hightower, national champion and NFL running back Anthony Thomas, Tulane baseball coach Rick Jones, Southeastern Louisiana football and multiple LSU sports coach Arthur “Red” Swanson, Distinguished Service Award winners in sports journalism Jim Hawthorne and Bob Tompkins and Dave Dixon Leadership Award winner Dr. Julian Bailes. For more information, please visit the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.
Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Sportsman’s Paradise
Sports are a passion in Louisiana, as much a part of our rich culture and heritage as music, food and architecture. Now there’s a place to relive the great moments in Louisiana sports history and celebrate the achievements of our greatest athletes. Every day is game day at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. Legends come to life with treasured objects—baseballs, footballs, jerseys, trophies and other memorabilia from all sports, all eras and all levels of play. High-definition videos capture the drama and excitement of sports, Louisiana-style.
Best of all, you will meet the men and women enshrined in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. Use touchscreens to look up sports stars' life stories, career stats and colorful quotes. Many of these athletes are world-famous, such as Shaquille O’Neal and Terry Bradshaw and others are all but forgotten, but each will inspire you to reach for greatness.
This exhibition tells the story of how diverse groups of people—Caddo Indians, French and Spanish settlers, free and enslaved Africans and rural Southern whites—created the distinctive regional culture that thrives today. With vibrant displays and diverse artifacts dating from the 1700s, this display celebrates the explorers, artists, writers, entrepreneurs and human rights leaders who embody northwest Louisiana’s resilient spirit.
On All Saints’ Day, Nov. 1, 1966, the National Football League (NFL) awarded its 16th franchise to New Orleans. Over the
next 50 years, the Saints brought their fans heartbreaking losses and euphoric triumphs. While all teams have good and bad seasons, the Saints’ highs and lows seem particularly dramatic. Beyond Sunday: Fifty Years of the New Orleans Saints commemorates these highs and lows, as well as the people who made them happen.
The exhibit features a pair of shoes worn by fullback Jimmy Taylor when he was with Green Bay Packers; Taylor, a native of Baton Rouge, left Green Bay to play with the Saints during their first season. A jersey from early Saints quarterback Archie Manning is on display.
Beyond Sunday features a special group of Steve Gleason-related artifacts. In addition to photographs and a jersey from his career with the Saints, the exhibit features the special wheelchair Gleason used on a recent trip to Machu Picchu. Gleason, who was diagnosed with ALS (also known as also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease) in January 2011, has become an outspoken advocate for those suffering from neuromuscular diseases and injuries.
Perhaps nothing signifies the Saints’ and to some extent the city’s, recovery as well as the team’s victory against the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. Thousands of fans flooded the streets of New Orleans to celebrate the long-awaited triumph in Miami. In commemoration of this historic win, Beyond Sunday includes some of the clothing items Coach Sean Payton wore during the game, as well as Marques Colston's helmet, jersey and shoes, on loan from the Professional Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. View image highlights of the exhibition
here, exhibition fact sheet here. Wedell-Williams Aviation and Cypress Sawmill Museum
This exhibition celebrates the legacy of aviation pioneers Jimmie Wedell and Harry P. Williams, who formed an air service in Patterson
in 1928 that quickly rose to the top tier of air racing. Displays include numerous replica aircraft, such as the famous Miss Patterson #44 and the Gilmore #121, race trophies and memorabilia. A surround-theater shows a re-creation of a race at the 1932 Cleveland National Air Races with high-tech animation, sound and wind effects.
Discover Louisiana’s cypress lumber industry of the late 19th and 20th centuries. Patterson was the industry’s heart, with the largest cypress
sawmill in the world at the F.B. Williams Cypress Company. Photographs and tools—including an 1890 passe-partout, or crosscut saw—tell the story of this major historical enterprise.
In 1926, with New Orleans architect and preservationist Richard Koch as a guide, Tebbs photographed nearly 100 Louisiana plantations, including well-known
sites such as Whitney, Belle Grove, Oakley, Rosedown, Oak Alley, Brame, Labatut, Shadows-on-the-Teche, Waverly, Ellerslie, Parlange, Belmont, Goodwood, the Cottage, Chrétien Point, Uncle Sam, Bagatelle, Ashland–Belle Helene, Houmas House/Burnside, Madewood, René Beauregard, Calumet, Hurst-Stauffer, and Rienzi. The exhibition features 43 gelatin silver prints documenting plantation architectural styles from the 18th and 19th centuries. Because Tebbs also sought out more obscure or modest properties, he provided a comprehensive record of Louisiana plantation architectural styles. Tebbs died in 1945 and in 1956 his widow, Jeanne Tebbs, sold the complete collection of 332 Louisiana plantation prints and negatives to the Louisiana State Museum. See image highlights of the exhibition here, exhibition fact sheet here.