NATCHITOCHES, La. (AP) — Museum goers in northern Louisiana will soon be able to see an exhibit on Louisiana’s efforts in World War II.
A special exhibit produced by The National WWII Museum in New Orleans will go on view at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum on Feb. 1.
The exhibition, called The Pelican State Goes to War: Louisiana in World War II, highlights the state’s contributions to the war effort.
It includes artifacts, photographs and oral histories.
Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, who along with the Louisiana State Museum, is unveiling the exhibit, cited the construction of the Higgins boats in New Orleans as one of the ways the state aided the war effort. The boats with their flat fronts that lowered down to allow troops to more easily land on beaches were considered a key piece of machinery aiding in key World War II battles including the D-Day invasion of Normandy.
“Our state played a tremendous role, and we are excited to partner with The National WWII Museum for this exhibit,” Nungesser said.
The exhibit details the stories of six state residents who received the Medal of Honor. Louisiana also hosted the largest maneuvers in U.S. military history from 1940 to 1945, and nearly 280,000 people from the state joined the armed forces.
“This exhibit 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,” said the exhibit’s curator, James Linn.
Officials are hosting a reception on Friday to commemorate the opening. That will include a performance by the Victory Belles.