Recognizing Our Roots
What was it like to be a soldier at the Battle of New Orleans? How did local women support the troops? High school students in three states are finding out through Jean Lafitte's Recognizing Our Roots program.
Recognizing Our Roots is a living history program for area high school students in the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) and for Choctaw youth from Louisiana's Jena Band of Choctaw Indians, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. The young people study the Battle of New Orleans with the help of Jean Lafitte rangers and local historians. They take field trips (real or virtual via web conferencing technology), learn to handle muskets, drill in 1815 military style, cook over campfires, and do research for their roles as members of the battalion of New Orleans free men of color, Jugeat's Choctaw volunteers, volunteer Tennessee militiamen, or as camp followers for the troops. More information about the program and a December 2012 event is available here.
To discover the students' adventures in their own words, check out the wikis created by students who served as living history reenactors during the Battle of New Orleans anniversary at Chalmette Battlefield in 2011 and 2012.
Did You Know?
Two volunteer battalions of free men of color fought in the Battle of New Orleans in 1815. These men were the first black American troops to receive pay, equipment, pensions, and bounty land grants equal to that of their white counterparts.