• Image of swamp, bayou, and marsh

    Jean Lafitte

    National Historical Park and Preserve Louisiana

Chalmette Battlefield

Image of battlefield with 1815 cannons and historic home in background
Walk in the footsteps of the troops of 1815 at Chalmette Battlefield.
 

The bicentennial of the Battle of New Orleans is January 8, 2015. The commemoration of the battle began in late September 2013 with the rededication of Chalmette Monument. Events, programs, and exhibits are planned throughout the months leading up to the bicentennial by Jean Lafitte and its partners, and special events will happen in the New Orleans area during the week beginning January 4. Information about the War of 1812 bicentennial (2012-2014) is located here; programs, schedules, etc., will be posted as they become available. Public input for bicentennial programs and events is encouraged. Find out how you can share your ideas here.

Battle of New Orleans University - Join rangers and living history reenactors for Battle of New Orleans University, new programs designed to share War of 1812 history and hands-on skills (attend as many or as few as you like). Sessions on different topics will be offered throughout the summer and fall and will be posted here as information becomes available.

  • Special location for Battle of New Orleans University event: On Saturday, September 6 , join living history reenactors and park rangers for "Laffite's Choice" at the park's French Quarter Visitor Center in New Orleans. Find out why pirate Jean Lafitte (or is it Laffite?) chose to assist the Americans instead of the British during the Battle of New Orleans. A full day of activities will include cannon drills, fun for Junior Rangers, and a walking tour following Lafitte's footsteps through the French Quarter. Follow the link above to learn more. Free.

 

Just downriver from New Orleans in Chalmette is the site of the January 8, 1815, Battle of New Orleans: Chalmette Battlefield. Many people believe that this last great battle of the War of 1812 between the United States and Britain was unnecessary, since the treaty ending the war was signed in late 1814, but the war was not over. The resounding American victory at the Battle of New Orleans soon became a symbol of a new idea: American democracy triumphing over the old European ideas of aristocracy and entitlement. General Andrew Jackson's hastily assembled army had won the day against a battle-hardened and numerically superior British force. Americans took great pride in the victory and for decades celebrated January 8 as a national holiday, just like the Fourth of July.

Learn about the War of 1812 from visitor center films and exhibits. Kids can earn a badge with the Junior Ranger program. The center's museum store has books, period music, reproductions of items from the period, and children's books. Admission is free. Follow these links for directions and for program listings for specific dates. Learn about the visitor center (dedicated on January 8, 2011) and see a map of the site that includes troop movements from the Battle of New Orleans.

8606 West St. Bernard Highway, Chalmette
504-281-0510

The battlefield visitor center and the entrance gates to the battlefield and to Chalmette National Cemetery (just downriver from the battlefield) are open Tuesday-Saturday, Memorial Day, and Veterans Day 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.. The visitor center is closed on Sunday, Monday, and all federal holidays other than Memorial Day and Veterans Day. On Sunday-Monday and on all federal holidays other than Memorial Day and Veterans Day, entrance gates to the battlefield and to the national cemetery open by 9:30 a.m. and close at 3:30 p.m. The battlefield and national cemetery are completely closed on Mardi Gras (Tuesday, February 17, in 2015). Useful information about public transportation, regulations on pets, etc., is available here. The paddlewheeler Creole Queen travels from New Orleans' French Quarter to the battlefield; visit the Creole Queen website for sailing times and ticket information.

Chalmette Monument, the battlefield's 100-foot-high obelisk that honors the troops of the Battle of New Orleans, is open on Friday and Saturday 9:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Visitors may climb the 122 interior steps to the top where there is a viewing platform. Children climbing the monument's interior steps should be accompanied by an adult. Climb carefully and do not rush: this is a moderate climb, but steps and handrail may be slick in wet or humid weather. The stairs are narrow and there is little room to pass other climbers or to turn around, so maximum capacity is 10 adults.

Regularly scheduled programs:

  • Battle of New Orleans ranger talk - Tuesday through Saturday at about 2:45 p.m. when Creole Queen excursion boat docks at battlefield. Free.

Special events and programs:

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Did You Know?

Two big red, black, and yellow lubber grasshoppers sit on a leaf

Lubber grasshoppers are sometimes known as devil's horses in south Louisiana. They lay their eggs in the fall and prefer loose dirt, so they often lay their eggs in cemeteries. These enormous flightless grasshoppers hatch in spring and spend the summer munching their way through vegetation.