Sunday, April 29, 2012

Ships in New Orleans

Last Saturday, 21 April, 2012, we landed at the New Orleans airport around noon.  After checking into the hotel we went to lunch then walked in the French Quarter.  I saw a French sailor, in his uniform, with the distinctive red pom-pom on his round cap.  I did a double take – how could a French sailor be in New Orleans in uniform? There had to be a French ship close by.  Then as we walked down the street we saw a multitude of navy men and women.  As we came by the levée along the Mississippi the steamboat Natchez sailed by.  As we watched it we saw some military ships in the distance.  

As we kept walking we came close to a large sign indicating that this was New Orleans (NOLA) Navy Week.  I had not been aware of it.  My picture below shows part of a Navy ship and the sign confirms that the French Frigate Germinal was by the dock ahead.  

 (click on collage to enlarge)
From April 17 through 23rd, 2012, New Orleans was the inaugural city for the three-year celebration commemorating the War of 1812 and the Star-Spangled Banner.   There were military vessels and tall ships carrying 3,000 sailors.  The ships could be visited but it was almost 5 o’clock and too late for us to visit them.  The French sailors I had seen came with the French Frigate Germinal (F735.)  Her usual mission is monitoring traffic in the Northern Sea and responding to ecological emergencies.  It certainly was strange for me to see all these French sailors in New Orleans.

 (photos courtesy Consulate General of France in New Orleans)

Moored close by were the guided-missile frigate USS De Wert (FFG45) as well as the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1); guided missile destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57); U.S. Coast Guard Tall Ship Eagle; HMS Montrose of the United Kingdom and HMCS St. John’s from Canada, along with the tall ships Dewaruci from Indonesia and BAE Guayas from Ecuador (a sail training ship.)  Quite a flotilla!  As someone who loves ships – this was eye candy.

(photos courtesy US Navy and Reuters)

 I understand that the 3-year commemoration of the War of 1812 will conclude in New Orleans in January 2015, on the 200th anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans.  I frankly don’t know that much about this war as we did not study it when I was in school in France.  From what I understand it was mostly a war of expansion for the United States.  They were attempting to obtain Canadian and Amerindian lands.  Amerindians or First Nations as they are called in Canada helped keep Canada British.  Chief Tecumseh’s warriors fought along with the British regulars and Canadian volunteers and played a great role in defeating the Americans. 

Meeting of British Major-General Sir Isaac Brock and Chief Tecumseh (Chief of the Shawnee) in 1812  by C. W. Jefferys (Canadian 1859-1951)

Unfortunately Tecumseh was killed in 1813 and the British did not include an autonomous Indian state when a peace treaty was signed in 1815.  The Americans acquired a significant amount of Creek Indian land.  Later, American Andrew Jackson cunningly negotiated 11 treaties with five tribes – the Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Seminoles and Creeks.  They slowly abandoned their lands too– which is what the American land speculators were hoping.  So in a way the Amerindians – First Nations – were the big losers in this war.   Andrew Jackson is considered a hero because he led a victorious battle against the British at Palmette Plantation, south of New Orleans in January 1815.  Sadly, both parties did not know that the peace treaty had already been signed in Belgium two weeks earlier…. communications were slow then and they had tragic consequences.

 Battle of New Orleans by Edward Percy Moran, American 1862-1935   

 Canada will also celebrate this War of 1812.  I read online on a Canadian bicentennial celebration government document:  “The war has played an important role in the creation of Canada’s military…It took the joint efforts of the English and French fighters and indigenous Canada, with British military forces to succeed in defeating the U.S. invasion…”   Below is a postal stamp commemorating Major General Isaac Brock on a Guernsey stamp issued in 1996. 

 During the few days that we were in New Orleans as we walked by the Mississippi we saw many cargo ships as well as the picturesque steamboat Natchez going out on the river.

 A ferry crosses the river every 15 minutes between New Orleans and Algiers.  We did cross the river on this ferry later on (will be in a future post.)

Another ship we saw often as we walked by the Mississippi was the paddle wheeler Creole Queen.   She is an authentic paddle wheeler powered by a 24 foot diameter paddle wheel.  

The Creole Queen is equipped with a diesel-electric system instead of steam engine.  Steamships, riverboats, paddle wheelers – all of these were used for centuries for transportation across, up and down rivers and even across the sea.   Below is the PS Waverly, the last sea going paddle steamer, from Scotland. (photo courtesy Wikipedia.)

 Going down the Mississippi River in these bygone days must have been fascinating.  Most of these days have disappeared but we can still get a glimpse of them by going on a river cruise aboard one of these steamers.   That will be for the next post…

Dixie Bayou Navigation from a sketch by Mrs. Theodore R. Davis (courtesy Harper’s Weekly, April 1863.)


Note:  Blogger has been updated.  I noticed that my font changes with paragraphs.  If anyone knows how to keep my font consistent, please let me know.  Thanks.


Shammickite said...

It's an impressive sight when all those huge ships are in port. I have toured the Eagle when she was in Halifax Canada for the Tall Ships in 2000.

The War of 1812,,, I believe the British burned the White House?

One of these days I am going to visit NOLA, it looks a fascinating city, and harbour. Meanwhile I have just come back from a trip to UK, and I've been posting some travel pictures on my blog.

Pondside said...

I was just about to shut down the computer and head out for work when I saw that you'd posted. I'm glad I did! We live near the west coast home of the Royal Canadian Navy, so we are lucky enough to see visiting ships from many countries.
Your description of the War of 1812 was interesting - and so true, that the indigenous peoples were the losers, overall, when it was over.

Jen ( said...

Wow, great post! That was very informative. Thank you for sharing.

I'm not very up on many wars - they just never interested me. I was far more interested in the day-to-day living of people of various cultures and eras. :)

Diane said...

Beautiful photos and interesting and informative post.
As for blogger I am fed up with it, there idea of improvements are not mine!! Diane

The Broad said...

Good post, Vagabonde! Americans are taught in school that we never lost a war -- but the history of the War of 1812 leaves a lot out! It was really part of the much larger Napoleonic wars and the US did not fare well overall. Perhaps the most important outcome was the sale by Napoleon of the Louisiana Purchase -- approaching one third of the land mass of the United States. I just recently read about a book that came out in Britain about this period, which at the time I thought might be well worth the read. The "Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels, & Indian Allies" by Alan Taylor.

Mary said...

So interesting....New Orleans is always full of surprises and I love to visit but haven't had a chance since Katrina. I know seeing the French navy was fun - nice pics of the different ships.

I wouldn't mind a river trip on the Creole Queen - does she go to Natchez? That always seemed to be depicted on the silver screen as a wild and woolly town - with lots of French people, riverboat gamblers etc!

Hugs - Mary

Kay Dennison said...

Thanks!!!!!!!!!! New Orleans is one of my favorite cities!!!!!

OldLady Of The Hills said...

So many wonderful ships...! Love seeing all these pictures, my dear....And the Paddle Boats put me in mind of the great Broadway show "SHOW BOAT"...also later, a movie....!
It must have been quite extrorinary to travel the Mississippi on one of these glorious glamorous boats...!
You really hit the 'Jackpot' in NOLA coming at exactly the right time...!

PeterParis said...

So interesting and well documented! One recognizes someone who is interested and fascinated by everything ... and enjoys it!

Ginnie said...

What a huge treat for you, Vagabonde, to see this parade of ships while you were there. Lucky you. I can just imagine the eye candy it was indeed for you and your husband. I remember seeing the Natchez a few years back when we were in New Orleans for a week. But don't get me started on the War of 1812 or any of the wars. I am really learning to HATE war...all wars!

Miss_Yves said...

Merci pour ce clin d'oeil à la France, merci aussi pour votre visite et votre gentil commentaire sur mon blog

DJan said...

Just wonderful! This post finally showed up in my Reader two days late. But it was worth the wait. I don't know what is up with Blogger, either. I am having some of the same problems.

Perpetua said...

Fascinating and informative as ever, Vagabonde. I am very ignorant about many aspects of American history and your posts are helping to fill the gaps.

I'm steadfastly refusing to use the new Blogger until I have no choice. At present you can revert to the old one by clicking on the cogwheel icon in the top right corner, then clicking on 'Old Blogger interface' on the drop-down menu.

As far as the text is concerned, when you've finished your post, but before posting it you could try selecting all the text, then choosing your preferred font and font size. This may help to iron out the odd discrepancies.

Dutchbaby said...

Bonjour Vagabonde!

It was so fantastic to meet you in person in New Orleans! You are every bit as charming and interesting in person as you are in your blog.

I overheard many conversations in French this time in NOLA and now I know why. I love walking by the river and watching the boats float by. I always worry for the huge boats, hoping they survive that tight bend in the Mississippi.

My husband has fond memories of his childhood here, sitting along the banks Mississippi with his grandpa, watching the banana boats get unloaded.

I wish you could have joined my daughter and me at Jazz Fest. You would have loved the music and the food!

As for you font problems. If you highlight your words in Blogger and then click on the icon that looks like a "T" with a little "x", then the highlighted text will revert to the default font. You define your default font in your layout options. Hope that helps. If not, send me an e-mail, or give me a call, and I'll walk you through it.

I hope to see you again this Fall!

Kenza said...

Chère Vagabonde, je viens juste à temps avec un petit brin de muguet pour te souhaiter beaucoup de bonheur et un bon 1er mai!

Walk in New York said...

waouhh superbe post. j'adore les vieux bateaux a grande roue

Publicity ;o) Every Friday (and the Weekend), The Challenge "Walk In The Street Photography"

Al said...

Great shots. I bet the military men have a great time in New Orleans!

✿France✿ said...

Je viens te dire bonsoir et je vais essayer de dormir

Kittie Howard said...

I devoured your post. Oh, but I wish I'd been in NO to see this gorgeous array of vessels. But your photos were so great I vicariously enjoyed the day with you. There's so much history in a concentrated area, one's eyes can cross from keeping it straight. But big applause for you for doing a fantastic job, much better than I would have done. I'm happy you got to speak French and touch your roots. I'm looking forward to your future posts about your trip.

Thank you for stopping by during the Challenge!

Pat said...

A very pleasant way of learnng some history - and geography.
I hope New Orleans is now fully recovered from the devastating floods.

Dianne said...

what a happy coincidence to be there during NOLA
love the photos

I think the blogger techs have some stuff to work out
I've just been counting to 10 a lot
I also close and re-open posts in order to make the gremlins move on

Dee said...

Dear Vagabonde, . . . once again your posting has been so informative and taught me new things. I so like learning! And you are an excellent teacher and writer.

Today I learned new things about the War of 1812. In grade school and high school we just touched on the British ransacking the White House in Washington, D. C. during the war and Molly Madison fleeing with the painting of President Washington by Staurt.

We never learned that the war was one of expansion into Canada and Native American lands.

The thing is that in school at that time we were taught the "patriotic" outlook. Which is to say, that the things done by US citizens were right. Always.

All I don't know. It's clear I need to study a revised history of this country.


Susie Swanson said...

This is very impressive.. beautiful place there..thank you for the sweet comments on mine..

Elaine said...

I really enjoyed New Orleans when we visited there before Katrina, and I would like to go again. I enjoyed the chance to visit a few of the old plantation houses the most.

claude said...

La Nouvelle Orléans est un peu un coin de France en Amérique.
J'aime ses musiques, le jazz et le cajun. Cela doit être sympa de monter à bord d'un steamboat.
Je prendrais plus de temps cet après midi pour trouver la traduction et en dire plus.
As-tu essayé de toucher le pompom du marin ?
J'aimerais bien voir une expo sur le Titanic. Il y en une à Cherbourg je crois, mais ça fait un peu loin.
A't'l'heure !

Barb said...

A bonanza of ships! Looks a bit cloudy there in New Orleans. Hope your stay was a good one.

This is Belgium said...

Oui, moi aussi j aime beaucoup New Orleans pour plusieurs raisons.
Beau reportage
bonne soirée et à bientôt

This is Belgium said...

Oui, moi aussi j aime beaucoup New Orleans pour plusieurs raisons.
Beau reportage
bonne soirée et à bientôt

bayou said...

Salut Vagabonde! I truely enjoyed that post of New Orleans which is one of my preferred towns in the States. I have been lucky enough to see it with my own eyes many years ago and then, the Natchez was already in charge, but also the Creole Queen. I loved the French Quarter and will always think back with a lot of bittersweet feelings as it was the last journey I could do with my mum who I accompanied on a business trip then. It seems as if there have not been huge changes though. What a great post you have put together - I love ships! Looking forward to the next post :-).

claude said...

Je ne connaissais cet épisode de la Bataille de la NO. Merci pour ce cours d'histoire.
Pour blogger tu peux revenir à l'ancienne interface si tu veux. Moi aussi je me suis pris le chou avec la nouvelle version.

Ruth said...

It must have been a real treat to see some French sailors, and to also be able to speak French in N.O. I was reading Tolstoy's writing yesterday on the hypocrisy of Christians who go to war, from the book that inspired Gandhi. I really don't understand how men have managed to continue this form of evil even into the 21st century, even the president I'd hoped might do things differently.

Well, Ginnie said "don't get me started," but I see I did get started.

It's a delightful post on the port there in N.O. Our brother Bennett went to NYC when the tall ships sailed in the NY harbor and went up in a helicopter and took pictures of them in the mist. He was so excited. There really is something about the sea, and seagoing vessels, isn't there?

Pearl said...

I didn't try to, but I've learned something today -- and it's not even noon!


Sheila said...

What a lovely and unexpected surprise you had. AND as usual you made it into a very readable and educating post.
Thank you for sharing your trip and your knowledge..

Vagabonde said...

Dear Friends – Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. I appreciate it very much. I am still behind reading blogs but I’ll try to catch up and will come and read your posts. I appreciate your help and went back to the “old” Blogger style to publish my forthcoming post – thanks again.

Jeanne said...

what a fun trip to New Orleans which is such a fascinating city. Very interesting about the commemoration of the war of 1812, Bet you were very excited to spot a French sailor. Lovely post! I love how you always add so much history to what you post!

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