On February 1, 2019, the Office of Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser will unveil a new special exhibition at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum called The Pelican State Goes to War: Louisiana in World War II. Produced by The National WWII Museum, the exhibition will feature artifacts, photographs and oral histories highlighting Louisiana’s extraordinary contributions toward America achieving victory in World War II. The exhibition opens with a reception from 5 p.m.–8 p.m. on Friday, February 1, with drinks, appetizers, and a special performance by the Victory Belles. The public is invited to this free opening night event.
On December 8, 1941, just one day after the Pearl Harbor attacks, the United States officially entered World War II–Louisiana, however, was already front and center in the country’s defense preparations. From 1940 to 1945, the state hosted the largest maneuvers in US military history, witnessed massive changes to its industrial base, and saw its citizens become enthusiastic contributors to what President Franklin Delano Roosevelt deemed “The Arsenal of Democracy.”
“World War II provided new, previously unimaginable opportunities to Louisiana’s residents,” said the exhibition’s curator, James Linn. “This exhibition will highlight the heroic stories of people like Claire Chennault, who created an early warning system to help protect China’s air force against Japanese attacks; and Richard English, who served in the African American 761st Tank Battalion and later became an advocate for Civil Rights. These unique wartime experiences, which were born in Louisiana, also helped lay the groundwork for sweeping economic changes in the postwar world.”