Battle of N.O. anniversary events set

Lasting less than two hours, the Battle of New Orleans was nonetheless one of the most significant battles in American history.

One hundred ninety-nine years later, the last important land battle of the War of 1812 will be marked with anniversary events Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at the site of the battle, Chalmette Battlefield, 8606 W. St. Bernard Highway. The battlefield is one of six sites of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve.

More than 150 living history experts in period dress are expected for the main events Friday and Saturday.

A wreath-laying ceremony at Chalmette Monument is planned for 10 a.m. Wednesday. Visitors are asked to park at the battlefield.

The living history participants will share their stories 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday. Dressed as civilians and soldiers, they’ll also fire cannons and muskets and explain the importance of the battle in American history.

The battle, the last time the U.S. and Britain fought as enemies, can be seen as a fight for New Orleans. Many in the British government didn’t view the Louisiana Purchase as legal, and therefore felt the U.S. did not own Louisiana or the Mississippi River when war broke out.

Also planned Friday are period music and interactive militia training. St. Bernard Parish sponsors a re-creation of the Dec. 23, 1814, night skirmish at 7 p.m.

The Louisiana Living History Foundation presents the skirmish.

Saturday events are similar to Friday, with the addition of an author talk and book signing by Ron Chapman (“The Battle of New Orleans: But For a Piece of Wood”). There will also be a kids camp, with activities specifically for children.

Only handicapped parking is available at the battlefield on Friday and Saturday. General public parking will be at the St. Bernard Parish Government Complex, 8201 W. Judge Perez Drive, with shuttles running to the event site starting at 8:45 a.m.

All events and shuttles are free.

For more information, call (504) 589-3882.

äON THE INTERNET:

nps.gov

Cleanup day at refuge

The Louisiana Wildlife Refuge headquarters in Lacombe will host its first Work/Play Day of 2014 starting at 9 a.m. Saturday.

The event is organized by the Friends of Louisiana Wildlife Refuges. The work activities mostly include clearing trails and general garden maintenance and will end at noon. Afterward, the Friends group provides a light lunch. The play starts after lunch and consists of a canoe outing on Bayou Lacombe.

All equipment is provided and new volunteers are always needed. The focus for this Work/Play Day will be getting the trails and grounds ready for the upcoming Camellia Garden Open House on Feb. 15.

Other volunteer opportunities in support of the Southeast Louisiana Refuges are available throughout the year, including staffing the Visitor Center, assisting with special events, educational programs and canoe tours on the refuges.

RSVP by Thursday to David Stoughton at (985) 882-2025 or david_stoughton@fws.gov.

äON THE INTERNET:

friendsoflouisianawild liferefuges.org

Free days at refuges

National wildlife refuges around the country will offer free admission to visitors on the following days in 2014:

Jan. 20: Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Feb. 15-17: Presidents Day weekend

Sept. 27: National Public Lands Day

Oct. 12: The first day of National Wildlife Refuge Week

Nov. 11: Veterans Day

Other federal land management agencies that will offer fee-free days in 2014 are: the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Forest Service and the Army Corps of Engineers. Contact each for details.

Poverty Point event today

Poverty Point State Historic Site near Epps delves into its past on Sunday with a tool demonstration.

The program will show how the Poverty Point inhabitants made and used stone tools more than 3,500 years ago. The events also includes a hands-on artifacts display. The event will run every hour on the hour, beginning at 1 p.m. and ending at 4 p.m.

The site offers visitors the opportunity to study the culture of area inhabitants from 1600 to 1100 BC. The $4 admission fee provides access to the museum, video, hiking trail and tram tour.

Children (12 and younger) and senior citizens (62 and older) are admitted free. Poverty Point, 6859 La. 577, is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

For more information, call (888) 926-5492.

Louisiana Travels is a column about travel destinations and events in Louisiana. Email items for Louisiana Travels to travel@theadvocate.com or jbergeron@theadvocate.com or mail to Judy Bergeron, The Advocate, 7290 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70810.