Archive | January, 2015

The 200th Anniversary of America’s Greatest Military Victory

14 Jan

The name “New Orleans” means many things to many people. Mardi Gras, the French Quarter, and the NFL Saints are just a few things that come to mind. This past weekend, however, New Orleans became the backdrop of perhaps the largest War of1812 military reenactment ever staged. Nearly 1,500 living history performers helped portray the climactic battle of New Orleans where Andrew Jackson led a diverse fighting force to victory over the British in perhaps the most stunning military victory in American history. The event was a grand spectacle to those spectators who braved the cold, wet conditions so similar to those that occurred exactly 200 years ago.

Battle of New Orleans reenactment

We wish to offer our congratulations and appreciation for those who participated in pulling off such a monumental event. Living history is just one tool that public historians use to explain the past in a format that the general public finds informative yet also entertaining. We have no doubt that those who attended the reenactment gained a better appreciation of the battle than they had before.

Also, it is hoped that this reenactment raised awareness of one of the most seminal events in not only Louisiana’s history, but that of the nation. Anniversaries provide the opportunity to place past events back in the spotlight and this one is particularly noteworthy for its largely unheralded lasting effects on the nation. It helped finalize American independence, secured the Gulf Coast for all time from European interference, and propelled Andrew Jackson into a two term presidency.

This battle, unfortunately, has faded from our nation’s conscience. For a little while at least, this reenactment put it back on the map.


Review of Look Up, Mobile!: A Walking Tour of Mobile, Alabama, by Doug Gelbert

12 Jan

I will admit that I am an inveterate heritage tourist, and I love to check out tour guides of historic sites in cities I visit. I do this when I visit new places, of course, but also sometimes even ones I know fairly well. Recently I downloaded the Kindle edition of Doug Gelbert’s short tour of Mobile, Alabama, Look Up, Mobile!, part of the Amazon Digital Services’ Look Up, America! series. I enjoyed the tour, which provided a brief overview of several of the most noteworthy parks and structures in this venerable Gulf Coast city. Knowing as much as I already do about Mobile, though, I felt that several worthy sites could have been included that would have added to the value of the book. These range from the locations of important structures now gone to a variety of iconic historic homes and churches. It appears the book is designed to be used as a single, walkable tour, and for that purpose it achieves its goal rather well even if the information provided is cursory. A city with a history as rich as Mobile demands multiple such adventures, so there is plenty room for another edition in this series.