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
The battlefield visitor center and the entrance gates to the battlefield and the national cemetery 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.
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Did You Know?
Vultures do not have many predators. If an enemy does approach, the vulture will face its enemy and vomit. This inventive bird also has a unique way to stay cool: it urinates on its legs. The urine also helps kill any germs picked up while standing on a carcass.