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.
When Pete Fountain died Aug. 6, 2016, it was not only the passing of an icon, but also the end of
the era. In tribute to this legendary icon, the Louisiana State Museum’s New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U. S. Mint presents Pete Fountain, ca. 1970, gift of the New Orleans Jazz Club, 1978.118(B).03147 Pete Fountain: A Life Half-Fast, an exhibition commemorating the life of Pete Fountain and his contributions to the world of music.
As a young clarinetist, Fountain quickly rose to the top by playing with the Dukes of Dixieland and Al Hirt. By 1957 he gained fame as a regular on
The Lawrence Welk Show. Known for his 1959 recording of “Just A Closer Walk with Thee,” he recorded everything from traditional New Orleans jazz to instrumental pop hits. Fountain became an even bigger celebrity after numerous appearances on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show. All the while, he maintained his attachment to his hometown, opening a club on Bourbon Street in 1960, which lasted until 2003 after a late 1970s move to the Hilton Riverside. Always exhibiting an infectious joie de vivre, each Mardi Gras Fountain led his Half-Fast Walking Club, starting at the world-famous Commander’s Palace restaurant in the Garden District and winding its way down St. Charles Avenue to the French Quarter.
Pete Fountain: A Life Half-Fast offers a well-rounded, humorous appreciation of the legendary clarinetist. Via photos and artifacts, the exhibition traces the various aspects of Fountain’s life and career. Photos include images of his early days, interactions with other musicians and days as a star. In addition, there are doubloons from the Half-Fast Walking Club, album covers, Christmas cards, postal cachets, a New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival poster, bobble heads and the wax figure from the recently closed Musée Conti Wax Museum.
Some of New Orleans jazz’s most beloved figures are women, from Sweet Emma Barrett to Aurora Nealand. Yet in many historical
accounts of jazz history, women are relegated to the background or not mentioned at all. Like many aspects of the culture around it, early jazz was a world defined by men, and women’s public roles were restricted by widespread stereotyping and discriminatory practices. As vocalists, instrumentalists, instructors, dancers, patrons, journalists and researchers, women have been integral to the development and artistry of jazz in New Orleans. This exhibition presents accomplished musicians from the early days of jazz to the present. It also explores how these artists have navigated their way as women in a predominantly male musical culture. Lizzie Miles, Ed Lawless, 1959. LSM 1978.118(B).4918
Women of Note examines the cultural, social and economic impact of women on jazz through historical photographs, instruments, recordings and other artifacts from the world-renowned collection of the New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint. Interactive exhibits include a video archive of performances of great women jazz musicians from the past and the present. Listening stations will also feature selections of commercial recordings, New Orleans Jazz Club radio broadcasts, live recordings and recordings made at the Museum Performance Center.
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.
For Home and Country: Louisiana in the Great War
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of America’s entrance into World War I, Capitol Park Museum presents,
For Home and Country: Louisiana. To document Louisianan’s war experiences, the exhibition includes include more than 100 artifacts and images from the Louisiana State Museum’s extensive collection of World War I materials. Many of these were donated by the French Republic as an expression of their gratitude for America’s participation in the War. The collection expanded considerably throughout the 20th century as veterans and their families donated war-related objects to the museum. For the exhibition, artifacts and images from this collection are organized into four sections: Homefront, Mobilization, Warfront and Memorialization. in the Great War Poster, “Halt the Hun,” T0005.1992.7
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 2017 inductees include LSU’s David Toms, whose 13 PGA Tour golf wins include a major championship. He is joined by nine-time Pro Bowl football star, former Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed, three-time Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Calvin Borel, and World Series champ Juan Pierre. Two more Tiger heroes, football and track great Eddie Kennison and iconic gymnastics coach D-D Breaux, are included along with Raymond Didier, who has impressive LSU credentials coupled with coaching feats at Nicholls and UL Lafayette. Rounding out the class is Southeastern Louisiana basketball legend C.A. Core. Core and Didier were awarded posthumously. The Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award went to Sue Donohoe, a Pineville native and former Louisiana Tech graduate assistant basketball coach who remains one of the college game's most accomplished administrators of all time. The Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism went to Jim Henderson who has been the radio play-by-play voice of the New Orleans Saints since 1986 and Lafayette sports media giant Dan McDonald. 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.
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.
The Louisiana State Museum and the Wedell-Williams Memorial Foundation presents
Big Wheel Keep On Turning: Steamboats in Louisiana. In 1812 the introduction of steam power revolutionized transportation on the Mississippi and other Louisiana waterways, ushering in a golden age of travel that would last until the end of the nineteenth century. Described by one observer as a “wedding cake on a raft,” the steamboat became an American icon and an enduring symbol of the Mississippi River. This exhibition also looks at the role of steamboats on Bayou Teche.