tv New Orleans Louisiana CSPAN July 13, 2018 6:21pm-8:00pm EDT
congress, the white house, the supreme court and public policy events in washington, d.c., and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. >> up next, an american history tv exclusive. our cities tour visits new orleans, louisiana. to learn more about its unique history and literary life. for seven years now we've traveled to u.s. cities bringing the literary scene and historic sites to our viewers. and you can watch more of our visits at c-span.org/citiestour. >> we're in the french quarter here in new orleans. today we're going to be visiting the historic new orleans collection to learn about the origins of this city as it celebrates its
tricentennial. >> new orleans is celebrating its tricentennial this year. we are 300 years old. so the historic new orleans collection has decided that for our tricentennial expedition we wanted to look back at the city's earliest years and what it was like when the city first developed. so the historic new orleans collection is a museum research center and publisher in the heart of the french quarter. the historic new orleans collection has existed as a foundation since 1966. we were established by a couple who were collectors of louisiana material. and what they wanted to do is make what they had already collected available to the public. so in new orleans, what we wanted to start with in this exhibition is kind of establishing some context for
what is going on in europe and the earliest interactions with the new world. which to europeans were going to be the americas. so what we start with in this gallery is providing you with the first instance that the new world is featured on a map. this map is by martin. the first world map was done in 1507. this is a later printing from 1513. showing the new world. so at this time they know the most about the islands that column bass was -- columbus was interacting with. that includes isabela, now modern decoud about a. and then -- modern day cuba. and now jamaica. and haiti and the dominican republic. and just northwest of these islands you can see they know a little bit about the gulf of mexico. but it's still very ill-formed. they have a little bit of florida. but as you can tell at this point, they still don't know a whole lot about how it's
shaped. the first frenchman who tried to settle the mississippi river area was actually la sell. he came to the new world on one voyage and decided to come back to try to establish a permanent ettlement in the area. as most people know about his second ill-fated voyage, it did not end well. nearly all of the settlers he brought over with him and his crew died from sickness and starvation. when they got into the gulf of mexico, they actually overshot the mississippi river's mouth .nd ended up off of texas at that point one of the ships actually hit a sand bar and began to sink. and if you look at this big beautiful painting that we have on loan generously from versailles in france, you can see we think that this ship right here is the ship that sunk during la salle's voyage.
this is a romantic depiction of la salle's voyage. you see the ship that he was arriving on. you see the crew attempting to disembark into texas. and if you zoom in, over here you can see the hostile native tribes that were attempting to push them back and not allow them on their land. so in this room, for new orleans, the founding era, we move forward in time a little bit. we've moved beyond la salle's ill-fated voyage to about 14 years later. and there are people that want to try again. they want to try to settle the mississippi river again for france. pierre, the son of a canadian fur trapper, has decided he wants to petition king louis of france for funds to try to build a settlement in the gulf of mexico and around the mississippi river. what we're looking at right now in this case is the letter to king louis, essentially laying
out the rationale for why he should give them money and provisions and funds to settle in this area. he is arguing that there could be mineral wells, that there could be, you know, wonderful fertile land that could be farmed and the request to the king was successful. and then in the next decade, you saw the first settlements taking place in the gulf of mexico. the first french settlement in the new world were going to be not actually in the new orleans area, but they were over in mobile. so what we're looking at now are two plans. this plan right here is a plan for new mobile, which was the second settlement that ifereville -- i'verville was establishing on the gulf of mexico. this is the first permanent settlement by france in the gulf of mexico area. this was the newer settlement and if you look at this plan, it should look family to -- familiar to anyone who has gone new orleans because new orleans is laid out on a similar grid
with your church in the middle and a promed in a. so this is the later settlement of new mobile and if we move over to -- this is the original settlement. old mobile. they found that this was not a good site for their settlement. so they moved it up river to a different location. during new orleans' earliest years, the settlement was a little more than a backwoods ram shackle town. there wasn't a lot here. but what it was doing was envisioning what its future was going to look like. and one of the versions of this future that people really wanted to see was it develop into a prosperous colony similar to haiti. so what we're looking at now is a view of a sugar plantation in haiti. this is the world that new orleans, at least the european settlers and colonists, aspired to be. this is a prosperous sugar plantation. they are hoping that new orleans makes some money.
one of the most interesting aspects of this drawing is that you, in addition to seeing all of the aspects required for sugar production, you in the foreground also get to see the treatment of the enslaved population, the enslaved african population, that were taken as captives from africa and brought to the new world to work the land. you can see that he has a collar around his neck. he's being held by a rope, by another individual. and then this is likely the overseer and this is the slave driver with whip in hand. as we move into this room we talk about what the crossing over experience would have been like. so this case right here is giving you a glimpse of some of the instruments that were used by ship captains and, as they were navarro gathe the atlantic ocean. this piece right here -- navigating the atlantic ocean. this piece right here gives you what the ship would have looked like on the inside and the cargo. and over here we have a travel came to oung man who
new orleans in 1721 and this is a watercolor that he drew of the ships gathered at the mouth of the mississippi river. at the foreground you can see a tiny little ship. this is an example of how people and cargo would have actually made it up to new orleans. the big ships themselves were usually too heavy and to deep into the water to actually make it up the mississippi river. so they would actually have to be offloaded, all cargo and all people would have to be taken off at an outpost on an island and once the ships were lighter in the water, then they could make their way up. what we're looking at here is actually a map of the island outpost where all the cargo and people, including enslaved captives, would have been offloaded as ships arrived from africa or europe. when they arrived at the mouth of the mississippi river. so they would be greeted by
enslaved captains that wlonged to the company of the indy, who were living in these warehouses and buildings that you can see here. in small row boats. and the cargo and people would have been put into these small boats and then manually rowed 100 miles upriver to new orleans. this last leg of the voyage would have taken about seven to 10 days, which is in addition to the seven to 10 weeks' voyage that you had already experienced coming over the atlantic ocean. in this room, one of the other important aspects that we talk about with this expedition is the fact that the majority of the people coming to new orleans during this early period did not come willingly. and it's important to look at what their experiences were like. and one of the ways we do this is we look at not only the experience coming over, but what happens during those voyages as well. one of the most heartbreaking objects in this exhibition is the ship log of the ship, which was a slave ship and it was the deadliest voyage coming from africa during this time period.
82 enslaved women and men and children died in addition to 11 crewmen. indiana this log book it has not only the first captain's notations of that wind and speed and where they were, but it also has notations in the margins about the almost daily deaths that were occurring. you can actually see in the margins where two enslaved men have died and then further down he knowtates that another enslaved man has died, in addition to a woman and a child. a small child. and then as you jump to this next page, the conditions are so horrific that two different enslaved women choose to jump overboard into the atlantic ocean rather than see it through to their final destination. we've moved into a room where we talk about the native american tribes that lived in this area prior to european settlement and then also lived in the settlement while new orleans was developing. during its earliest years.
during this period, it's important to remember that native americans actually outnumbered european settlers and enslaved africans by about 14-1. so this is still very much a native space at the time. you can see in these cases we have some native american pottery from the mississippi cultures and then the later cultures. as some of those civilizations were collapsing and combining. and then as we move through, you can see additional cases. this case right here is talking about trade. native american trade. and so you can see there's a turquoise bracelet here that was found in mississippi. obviously turquoise doesn't exist in mississippi on its own. so this is speaking to the trade that was happening amongst native american tribes. one of everyone's favorite objects in this exhibition are the bear paw mock sins. these are mock sin shoes that are made from bear paws with a deer skin sole. these were made by a louisiana
tribe and likely not for native use. they were likely made for the french market, to actually be sold in france. they were made and soon after sent to france where they ended up in the cabinet of an arrest contract and there they stayed for hundreds of years until they came back for this exhibition. as we move into the next gallery, this space is looking at the early infrastructure attempts in new orleans. what we're looking at is plans that were drawn up by french engineers to establish the settlement in a more permanent fashion. so as you look at this map, you can see what is now jackson square in the middle. and as you look beyond, this is the french quarter. this is where we are now standing in this building. so as you look at this map right here, this is giving you a sense of the buildings that were built and the land that was cleared and about 1725. you can see different buildings are knowtated as complete or
not complete. one of the interesting things about this plan is some of it is rooted in reality. but this plan is also showing what they want the new orleans settlement to look like in later years. at this point, none of these streets back here are fully cleared. and it's also showing a waled rampart around the city that never fully was realized. and one of the things to think about too is as the settlement was growing on the outskirts of the settlement, the last streets butting up against the wilderness, those are going to be the streets where the more impoverished settlers were living. that's where single women were living, that's where a lot of the poorer people were living. because it butted up right against the wilderness and they to contend with the animals that were in the wilderness like black bears or maybe alligators or whatever existed out there that might come looking for food. in the last room of the exhibition, new orleans, the founding era, one of the things
we talk about is archeology and why archeology is important to telling the stories of everyone during this time period. not everyone's lives are going to be left behind in the historical record and documents and objects. and so one of the things we rely on is archeologists to go find material culture in the earth to tell us about what their lives were like and who was here. so in this case, what we're looking at is items that were found during digs in the french quarter. some of which were on historic new orleans collections own -- collections' own properties. you can see things that would have been important. seeds, a tiny raspberry or blackberry seed. watermelon seeds. plum pits. as you move behind here, this is a giant oyster shell. so they were eating oysters at this point. then as you move beyond, there's a pig molar. cow bone. all sorts of items that are telling us about what their diet was like during this period. you can also see various shards
of pottery which tells us about their material culture and the things they valued. in addition to glass-blown wine bottle, which was found. an even down to small glass beads that were used for trading with native american tribes. one of the things that we hope visitors take away from seeing new orleans, the founding era, is a better sense of who all was here during this period and all of the people that were important to the development of the city. in addition to the really vibrant native american cultures that were here prior to european settlement and even during the early years of the european settlement. new orleans' tricentennial gives us a great opportunity to not only celebrate where we are now and what our future might hold, but to also look really closely at our past and the things that have happened and where we come from and think about how that informs our present and where we might be going into the knewture.
-- in the future. >> c-span's at the battlefield which is the site of the battle of new orleans. up next we'll talk about the very last ground battle in the war of 1812. >> the battle of new orleans was a battle fought between the american forces and great britain as part of the war of 1812. it's the last ground battle that took place between the two nations. this was the last spot where two armies came together on the land. so we're at the chalmette battlefield. we're about six miles down river from the french quarter, which back in 1815 would have been kind of the heart of the city, new orleans there. it's located out here in st. bernards parish which is a little ways outside of the city proper. the war of 1812 started in june of 1812. the ground assault that we kind of call the battle of new
orleans started on january 8, 1815. it would be about five weeks after when the battle officially ended there. or when the war officially ended. so new orleans was a very important target for the british for a couple of reasons. the first is that it's right along the mississippi river. it's the port city that controls all of the trade and all of the vessels coming in and out of the gulf of mexico. and really it's because of this kind of hub of trading that goes around that new orleans has always been very important and the british figured if they could capture that, they could control all of that trade that comes out of the country. if you can control the trade of a country you're at war with, you can help determine that outcome as well. some of the important people out here that help dictate what would happen during the battle of new orleans on the british side really include people like general packingham, who eventually becomes the commander of the entire ground assault out here. and he's the brother of the duke of wellington. so he's got a lot of clout in the british circles there.
you also have admiral cochran, who isn't necessarily ever going to be here, but he's in command of the overall assault force of about 15,000 troops that the british have. on the american side, probably the most famous is going to be andrew jackson who is in kind of command of the u.s. gulf forces at the time. we also have people like joseph who is a refugee from the haitian revolution from the island of sando ming. who helps put together almost 260 free men of color to create a battalion onthere. in terms of numbers of people that were out here, it's accepted that 7,000 british troops were here during the ground assault and somewhere around 4,000 american soldiers. so it was a pretty overwhelming in terms of the amount of british compared to the americans. one thing to keep in mind as well is that the british were professional soldiers. they'd been fighting in europe, a lot of them were very decorated military men. as were the americans, even though we had 4,000 troops, 3/4
of that were men who didn't have a lot of experience. one professional soldier didn't have a lot of experience. so the first kind of conflict between u.s. soldiers and british soldiers out here near the battle of new orleans actually happened during the night attack of december 23. jackson had found out from gabriel, which the youngest man, who actually jumped out of plantation house and ran all wait back to new orleans to tell jackson that the british have landed. when jackson hears this, he cries out his famous line of, by the eternal, they shall not sleep on our soil. immediately goes to try to push the british out. however, on that night attack, it's a very confusing time. both it's dark and a lot of the americans don't know each other as well as perhaps the british soldiers do. this is also kind of one of the points when both the cavalry and the choctaw american indians who were fighting out here played a massively significant part.
they used the cover of darkness and their ability to move through kind of the landscape here to really cause some confusion with the british. from the americans, they were not able to push the british out. in fact, jackson ended up forced to fully retreat up the river. but what it does do is it makes the british rethink about attacking very quickly. and so kind of the casualties that were incurred on that day made the british wait for more troops to arrive which gave jackson time to prepare defenses for the city. so jackson stayed in a few different places during the battle of new orleans. prior to his knowledge of where the british had landed, he actually stayed right off of royal street down in the french quarter. but after that night attack, he comes down here and actually stays at a plantation house known as the mccarthy house. would have been similar to the house that we have out here on our property. but jackson's headquarters burned down in a fire in the late 1800's.
but it did have the same style of dormer windows, which he used to basically look out and survey the entire battlefield there, to help decide where he was going to build his defenses and what the british were doing. so when the british decide to launch the ground assault of january 8, they launch a fairly complicated three-pronged assault. the reason this spot was picked by jackson to make the defense is that it's so narrow. it's one of the narrowest chunks of ground between the swamp and the river all the way into the city. which kind of helps jackson concentrate a smaller force in negating some some of the british's superior numbers. he starts by having a rampart, a long wall-like fortification, created along the rodriguez canal. so the canal gets dug out about eight feet wide, 15 feet deep. and the rampart wall is created as well to about 15 feet wide and eight feet tall. which provides kind of a long fortification that the men can stand behind. so this is our recreation of
the rampart wall. it is similar in terms of construction. though it is a little bit short. it would have been closer to about eight feet tall and the side facing the british would have been heavily sloped, allow cannon balls to deflect off of it more easily. initial the british had heard that the swamp end of the rampart was going to be the weakest portion of the entire defensive line. and so they hoped to kind of flank around the side and take out the artillery that was causing so many casualties for the british. unfortunately for the british, jackson had been warned by pierre, one of the pirates that was out here, that he should extend that rampart and it gets extended about 400 yards into the swamp and then gets a battalion of tennessee sharp shooters out there. so instead of it being kind of this weakest portion of entirety -- of the entire line, it becomes one of the strongest and the british really aren't prepared for how deep and how difficult it is to move through swamp. they end up taking massive casualties there. so the second line of attack by the british was actually kind of near the levee side. the plan there was to take
latters and these big bundles of sugar cane sticks that would have been taken from the nearby plantations. they would have taken those sticks, thrown them into the canal and then laid the ladder right on top of the ramparts so they could kind of swarm over the top and overwhelm the cannons there, which were causing so many casualties. on the day of the attack, however, the man who was in charge of bringing those didn't bring them. they ended up getting bottle-necked down on the levee side and the british take massive casualties there as well. the third line of attack we can't see from where we're standing right now. but if you look on the other side of the river, on the west bank, jackson had a set of cannons whose whole purpose was to shoot diagonaly onto the battlefield. the british general, he thought that if he captured those cannons, could -- he could turn them onto the main american line. eventually they capture that position. in fact, it's kind of the only successful line of attack for the british. however, comes about two hours too late.
the main battle had been over by that point. on the january 8 attack, the losses were pretty massive for the british. they had about 2,000 total casualties out of their entire army of 3w7,000. the americans have less than 20. so it was a very decisive victory out here. perhaps one of the most decisive victories of the war of 1812. so the treaty was the official treaty that ended the war of 1812. it's kind of a complicated situation. most treaties, after they're signed and negotiated, the wars end. but the u.s., our ambassadors, aren't imbued with the power of a king. so they have to bring it back to congress and the president to get a final approval. because of this, the british specifically said that the treaty needs to be ratified, both in parliament and congress , br hostilities would end -- before hostilities would end. so the treaty had been signed, negotiated about three weeks prior to the battle of new orleans. but it doesn't become official until about five weeks after. so the battle did need to take
place but it becomes kind inform this period where all the determination of what was going to happen has already happened. after the battle of new orleans, it had kind of a few long-lasting effects. with the first being the way americans felt about themselves. for many people, it was kind of this national binding, unifying event that took place. in fact, we kind of called the period right after the battle of new orleans of era of good feelings. this period doesn't last for a long time. by 1819 we're back into kind of these politics that happen. but it does really bind together people as being americans first. it also really solidifies the u.s.'s claim on the louisiana purchase, which also has some negative effects as well it allows us to expand further west, which has us get into conflict with more american indian tribes. it also increases the expansion of slavery. here in new orleans it was a
major hub for the slave trade. and by protecting it from the british, really increased the amount of slavery that happened in the united states. so andrew jackson had already been known as a military man during the wars prior to this battle but it's really this battle that those are him into such popularity that -- throws him into such popularity that he's able to win the presidency in 1828. andrew jackson the man and andrew jackson the general were really entwined during the election. if you had said anything bad about andrew jackson's politics, it was infurred that you were talking about the man himself, the battle of new orleans, and therefore the country as a whole. it's actually -- this battle where he gains kind of one of his second nicknames. he'd been known as old hickory. here he gets the nickname of the hero of new orleans that sticks with him until he dies. one thing i would like people to come out here and kind of take away is this idea of how small this chunk of ground is, really has a lot of long-lasting effect as i -- effects across the nation.
the men fighting here were fighting for all different reasons but the reasons they were fighting overlapped enough that they were able to defend the city and create that long-lasting memory of the battle of new orleans in the american population. >> c-span's at the national world war ii museum which opened in 2000. today we're going to be visiting the road to tokyo exhibit which tells the american experience in the pacific theater. >> welcome, everyone, to the national world war ii museum. we're here in the warehouse district in downtown new orleans and here at the museum we have several different permanent exhibits and we're here today in the road to tokyo exhibit. which is going to take us through the war in the pacific and asia from 1941 to 1945. we've designed this exhibit as
a recreation of the bridge of the u.s.s. interprice. the world war ii aircraft carrier of the u.s. navy. as you advance into the exhibit, you're going to start out on the ship and really get yourself oriented to the war in the pacific. one of the things we like to do in our exhibits is kind of introduce our visitors to the main players. we have a lineup of four of them here. we have the japanese emperor on the left. man who in many ways was responsible for the war in the pacific. we have the president of the united states, franklin delano roosevelt, our british ally, winston churchill. and in many ways, a man who has become the forgotten character of world war ii, the leader of the nationalist chinese. we fought a war in the pacific. the chinese fought war on the asian mainland against invading japanese. very bloody and very protracted war. so as we advance through the bridge of the u.s.s. enterprise, our world war ii aircraft carrier, this is where the command elements would be. we're going to go into our next gallery and get a little better look at what life was like for the crewmen onboard these ships.
so if you follow me this way. you can see here this is what your corridors would like like. nothing too lucks ourious. this was stripped to the bone. where you get the most weight is the weapons and ammunition, the supplies of war. creature comforts are usually pretty far down the list. i think that's one of the things our gallery here tells us. we spend a lot of time in the museum, a lot of effort to really kind of capture that personal story. we think that's what makes the national world war ii museum such an affecting experience. so, for example, we have the story here of visitors -- our visitors can read of doer i miller. she was never given an opportunity, a tactical weapons training. but when the japanese bombed pearl harbor he grabbed hold of a machine and brought a few japanese aircraft down. he's one of the heroes and one of the forgotten heroes of world war ii. that's the sort of person here at the museum we like to highlight. >> here's the actual bombing of the mighty u.s.s. arizona by jap planes. >> one of the most interesting
aspect of the war in the pacific is how quickly the turning point came in it. the bombing at pearl harbor was december of 1941 and just about six months later, after the japanese had run wild through the pacific and cargoed a gigantic empire, the battle of midway was fought. the u.s. dive bombers destroyed no fewer than four japanese aircraft carriers in a very, very brief battle. that was a major portion of japan's naval strength and whatever chance japan had of winning the pacific war probably disappeared in june of 1942. so that early into the war, from what we might say the humiliation and pain of pearl harbor, to the big victory at midway, just about six months. it's a big ocean but that's a relatively brief time. so the war would go on for other three years after midway. from june of 1942 to august of 1945. i think most japanese naval officers in particular, officers across the board, realized that the war was probably lost after midway. but they had taken this colossal gamble to launch a war
on the united states, a country whose economy was 10 times the size of their own. and really what was there to do now? this early on into the war, but simply to hang tough and hope for some kind of miracle. and i think that's what japanese officers in particular were doing. it was often couched in terms of loyalty to the emperor. we can't let the emperor down. but i think it was more about the corporate culture of the japanese officer corps. they saw no way out other than to hang tough, to realize it's a big ocean, maybe something would happen, maybe the americans would tire of the struggle. maybe we, japanese, could take such a toll of u.s. casualties that an american president would be forced to end the war on some more favorable terms than japan. but of course that was never to be. o we have the flight jacket. we have some other smaller artifacts. but merrill was a pilot on the u.s.s. yorktown. fought in the battle of midway. bombed a japanese aircraft carrier. i merely point out the flight
jacket because i have a soft spot for them and so does so many of our visitors. i see more people fanning in front of our aveg yeater flight jackets, they're beautiful examples of craftsmanship, quite stylish. but they also hark back to that bigone era. everyone assumes flight today. but in 1940, flight was not yet that old. and it played such a major role in every single one of these encounters. but perhaps particularly so in the war in the pacific. because of the vast distances between ships, the vast distances between islands. the war in the pacific could not have been fought in the way we know it was fought without aviation. so i point to this flight jacket as one of my choice artifacts here. so after the battle of midway, the u.s. had won this victory, they realized they had to do something to keep up the pressure on the japanese empire and keep up the pressure on japanese defenses. what they chose was an assault on a japanese had-held island. and as we come around the corner here, into the next allery, you'll be seeing the
exhibit. which to my mind is one of the most beautiful single rooms in the museum. it attempts to capture the om bans of a jungle island in world war ii. we have a film expected on sheets essentially. equate with what the marines would do once they had landed to show a film or look at some kind of film. they would do it in a very primitive way. we consider ourselves here at the museum to be experimental and interactive and environmental exhibitry. that's what we specialize in. we also, of course, being a museum, have artifacts, as many as any could want. i know the reason many people come to a world war ii museum or a historical museum at all, especially military history, is to look at artifacts. here we have a wide variety of the weaponry used on the canal during the fighting. fragmentation, grenades and the knife. a browning automatic rifle. and so on.
as we look here, the famous thompson submachine gun with the magazine, the circular magazine, the famous tommy gun. and we have some beautiful examples. so, it was the first u.s. counterattack of the pacific war. it was carried out very quickly in response to the opportunity at midway. as a result, it wasn't particularly well supported or well supplied. it was hastily planned. our marines landed and very soon found themselves relying on captured japanese stores of rice and dried fish in order to survive on the island. because our own supply lines had been disrupted and our own supplies were late in coming. so what was seen as kind of a hasty counterattack in august of 1942 turned into a long protracted battle that was far bloodier i think than anyone could possibly have imagined. one of the finest hours in the history of the marine corps and the u.s. marine corps certainly had its share of fine hours but this was a much tougher fight
than anyone anticipated. we tried to show that in the way we line up this gallery. there's a lot of things happening. there's a kind of for bidding environment -- forbidding environment. as if you stepped off planet earth and went to the moon or a completely different space. that's how many u.s. marines felt while they were fighting there. we have one of the most fascinating display cases i think at the entire museum. most of the artifacts here were in the possession of first lieutenant walter, first marine division. he had a close encounter with a japanese officer. the japanese officer raised his sword, did not have time to get it out, whacked the lieutenant on the helmet. if you come here you can see the helmet, which still has the crease in it from where it was struck by the japanese officer's sword. the lieutenant passed out but he shot and killed the japanese officer in the course of this. so we have this amazing bit of exhibitry. we like to choose artifacts that don't just sit there but
that tell a story. i think this is a classic example of museum story telling. there were specific challenges to the specific campaign and of course the obvious one is the sheer size of the theater. the largest ocean on earth. and we have this map which illustrates the challenge of distance. armies typically, you know, deploy 100 miles away from each other, then march to the big clinch and march to the battle. but here we have troops loading on a transport in san francisco and just to get to pearl harbor, hawaii, in the mitt -- in the middle of the pacific, they've already traveled 2,400 miles. another island is another 2,400 miles. you're almost 5,000 miles away. for japan to be fighting in the islands, on the island of new britain, for example, over 2,000 miles from the japanese home islands. war had never before been fought at these distances. and could not have been fought if it were not for the invention of the airplane.
and so the way that these navies especially get at one another is never to come within line of sight, but to be hundreds of miles away, launch their scout planes, try to detect the enemy's fleet first, and then launch assault planes on the enemy fleet that you've detected. you still might be hundreds of miles away. a battle fought in 1942 here in the corral sea, a signal moment, the first naval battle fought in which the two fleets never came within line of sight of one another. simply scouted and tried to find each other's fleets at long range. i wouldn't say, this is pretty early on, i wouldn't say that either side was particularly good at it. i think there's a certain amount of stumbling around as both sides try to navigate the way of war. the next month there will be a battle fought at midway and that's the big u.s. victory, the sinking of the four japanese aircraft carriers that really changes the entire tenure of the pacific war. other aspects of the war that were pretty unique, the unfor
giving environment, the humidity, the heat, the jungle. the insect life. especially the american troops, american personnel simply were not used to and not immune to. so we have an entire display here of medicine in the south pacific. when i look here, and i see portable x-ray machine, i know that we have also entered the modern world. which they -- we think of world war ii, of course, history, 70 years ago. but we were already using ings like x-rays to give personnel real good care in the field. the earlier the care comes, the earlier it happens, the better chances of saving a life or healing more quickly. i mentioned my father a few times. i'm going to mention him one more time. he was a medic on the canal. a platoon sergeant and medic. he tells stories of trying to practice medicine in the middle of a south pacific jungle. without going into the gorey details, it's not as easy as it sounds. but new techniques, new medicines were making it possible. my
my father was responsible for handing out an anti-malaria medication. unfortunately the japanese occupied lands held most of it. underina, these were japanese occupation. american scientists came up with a substitute, a synthetic. it made you feel horrible, it turns you yellow. there were all kinds of rumors about what it did to your constitution. medic.their duty as the at any given moment more of their troops were sick than wounded in battle. -- you needed clean water and various medications. malaria was a big problem in south pacific fighting. for all of these problems, you
have to say it has worked for the japanese, because they are always less well supplied. four times three to the number of japanese than americans suffering from miller cup. -- from malaria. they were no more susceptible than the other. that the japanese were more adept to the environment, i would question that. more were killed by disease than in battle. we are looking at the m2 flamethrower. you have two big tanks on your back, and they are filled with a jelly gasoline substance known as napalm. r, the japanese -- the wa japanese had dug into atolls.
extremely risky fighting was needed in order to dig them out. this is a weapon that u.s. armies and marines had recourse ,o in the fighting any pacific and it was too late on the flamethrower. at the entrance to the of the cave. someone would have to go forward and insert the flamethrower nozzle into the cave, or advanced into friendly troops. of course, when you are carrying the flamethrower, you are attracting the fire of every single defending soldier within range, because he knows the danger he isn't. -- he is in. i wouldn't want to be on either side of the flamethrower. we are in our island hopping gallery in the tokyo exhibit. much of the war in the pacific consisted of the island hopping campaigns, that is choosing an island chain, invading the principal chain, leaving japanese forces in place of the rest of the chain, then
advancing to the next. in this way, you would choose your targets. last numbers of japanese would not have to be fought at all, but so to say with her on the -- syawither on the vine. as we advance here, we have an application of a very difficult fight in 1943. isis not an island, it coral. logshad dug outs made of and were very well fortified. u.s. marines advancing toward the island. they got caught on the coral reef. they had to wade to the shore in waist deep or knee high water under fire. an one takes more respect th
the u.s. marine corps except maybe these guys. they had a mission to perform, and they performed it with valor. if you look very carefully, you can see this is staying with his blood. -- is stained with his blood. he survived the battle. the unit he was in took over 40% casualties. two dead here, two wounded there. that is an extremely high casualty rate and says something about the fighting here. our visitors spend a lot of time reading this map when -- looking at this map reading the caption. man whothe blood of the
was carrying it. here i am quite proud of this gallery. burma, india.na, ub we mentioned midway, portal can now. -- guadalcanal. well that war was taking place, a gigantic struggle was taking place on the asian mainland. ours and ourse, british ally was to fly supplies from the himalayas into india. theaterthe entire china-burma-india, or cbi. soldiers and airmen who fought in it often feel neglected in the annals of world war ii. we have a release map -- relief map of what it was like to fly. from burma over the himalayas to
get supplies into china. i'll have to tell your viewers -- don't have to tell your viewers flying over the himalayas is difficult. it is a big of draft as you get - updraft as you get up the mountain and a big downdraft as you go down, and required serious flyers. of ourre you see a bit photograph of the burma road. it is such a tall grade, so you can't just drive up the mountain, it is back and forth. the japanese closing off the burma road led to flying the hub in world war ii. it was very unfamiliar to u.s. troops. i think we have done a good job here of evoking it.
we have the so-called cbi, china-burma-india escape map. if he i downs in any of these territories, he can try to navigate to friendly territory. attached to this is called a blood chip. that is a ticket the flyer would carry and hand to local villagers. i am an american flyer, an allied flyer, please give me all needed assistance. the chinese were our allies in world war ii. we have to explain this not only to young people at the museum, but to everyone. they were fighting our side alongside british and american forces alongside the japanese in world war ii. if you parachuted into china anywhere, you as an allied flyer were probably amongst friendly's. -- friendlies. had your plane gone behind japanese lights, only locals
could -- lines, only locals could help, and that is where there was bloodshed. some of the most salud groups were the american -- celebrated groups where the american flyers lew against the japanese. we have one example in our cbi gallery. this is where we feel we are doing a service. there are so many aspects of world war ii letter in our vocabulary. -- that are in our vocabulary. what many don't know is the war that was fought in china, in which americans fought on the side of the chinese against japanese aggression. this really brings the entire gallery together. we have a display case from effects of the battleship nagato. the japanese navy was
essentially destroyed in the course of world war ii, but only a few battleships survived. one of them that . we have the flag, the not theers, just -- binoculars, uniform, the boots -- if you are interested in artifacts of the second world war, in terms of artifacts, we have a choice selection of artifacts. it before and i will say it one more time. as this war dragged on, it seemed to get more violent. as forces -- as u.s. forces approached the japanese home island, they faced even stiffer resistance. we have the battle of iwo jima, the battle of okinawa. these were islands that were
coming closer to japan, and the japanese were fighting tenaciously every step of the white. -- of the way. it seems as if the japanese were beaten, and yet their troops in the field where carrying out extremely effective resistance. that is what the u.s. political elite is thinking of in 19. they won a war, but how do you bring a war to an end? based on iwo jima and okinawa, this was not going to be an easy process. we have an interest in artifact. it is known as the personal effects bag. one servicemember dies in combat, small personal effects were sent home to the families in bags such as these. it could be a pocket bible, a couple photographs, a letter ho
me, whatever that soldier, airman, marine fault important. -- thought important. when i was a little boy reading about it, they seemed like adults, but he relies they were 18 -- you realize they were 18 years old. how many personal effects could they really accrue? on the japanese side we have this 1000 stitched belt. when you get to the lucky number 1000, you stop and your son and husband or brother wore that can to combat. nobody thought it was a magic talisman, but it was a reminder of home and japanese cultural traditions. this is one of the best preserved belts that i have
seen. we have been telling this narrative on the road to tokyo, with a war that did not seem to have any ending, a war that that might seem to go on forever. clearly the japanese military power was broken, but on individual islands they could defend tenaciously. casualty estimates were out of the ballpark, in the hundreds of thousands. unbeknownst to those predicting these casualties, a top-secret military program had been going on for some time in the united states, a research and development program that has never been seen before. it was the invention of atomic weaponry, the so-called manhattan project had already bombsed a couple workable by 1945. on august 6, an atomic bomb was detonated over hiroshima. a second bomb of a different mechanical type detonated bombs over the city of nagasaki. the soviet union declared war on thpan, and the japanese, wi
all these explosions happening at once, accepted american demands for unconditional surrender. we try to tell this with sensitivity. 80,000 lives were snuffed out in a millisecond. it is the only gallery that has a musical soundtrack, an ambient and contemplative piece. we want people to think about what happened at hiroshima and nagasaki, and why. we have heard the flight record s and watch of the pilot of the enola gay, who dropped the bomb on hiroshima. we have the logbook from the enola gay, the copilot, so the primitive computer of the day, a way of computing an aircraft's true speed, which was essential to building. -- to bombing.
as we walk over here, we have examples of glass bottles taken from the wreckage of nagasaki. literally heat melting glass not far from ground zero. another city had been chosen, but cloud cover was too difficult to drop the bomb, so the mission was changed to nagasaki. i have been saying this to students as a professor, the unluckiest city on earth. chance,er and by nagasaki received the second bombing. we have reached our end of the story in the war in the pacific. anyhow? gallery -- in the hiroshima gallery, you can think about what happened in this war, the vast human cost paid by the war
in the pacific. booksmay be tens of 15 written about hitler during world war ii. today the pacific has assumed an enormous importance in u.s. policy come in global trade. we talk about the importance of the pacific rim. haveis why i am glad we the road to tokyo exhibit in the world war ii museum. ie market i want -- nugget want people to take away is the human cost paid when nations go to war. could the united states has avoided this war in the pacific? once you made that decision to go to war, there will never be an easy way to end it. and personnel are going to pay the price.
that is what we want people to take away from these exhibits. ♪ >> they are at mardi gras world in new orleans, where work is underway for next year's mardi gras float. every year, mardi gras world makes hundreds of floats all over the city. we speak with the mayor about how his family has been in the business for generations. [horns] ♪ hail citizens of new orleans. welcome to carnival. ♪ >> [whistles] mardi gras is a celebration that actually predates christianity. it came to new orleans and has been in new orleans at the beginning. when i say christianity that you
have the pagan rites of spring and buchan malia. -- and bacchanalia. the one thing people do not want to give up words are great parties and celebrations. they had a very long tradition of celebrating the rites of spring, and that became carnaval. and carnaval is latin for without flesh. fat tuesday is the day before lent. the day of mardi gras can change februaryday in early to march. . world in new gras orleans, where we produce and stage most of the mardi gras parades here in new orleans.
the mardi gras tradition itself came from france, and it was a festival where people would celebrate right before the fasting in the lenten season. masks,nt -- would wear toys, trinkets they would give away. it grew from a small amount of people that did it. when my grandfather and father got involved in the business, there were eight or 10 carnival clubs. those parades maybe had 4000 members. today mardi gras has 40,000 members of these carnival clubs, and we call them crewe. -- crewes. a crewe is like a sorority or fraternity, a club. they represent everyone in the
city. that is why mardi gras new orleans has been said so successful. mardi gras new orleans democratizes. what i mean is, there are crewes know today that are straight, women, gay, black, white -- there are crewes with everyone in them. these organizations are the makeup of the city of new orleans, and new orleans is a very diverse city. in new orleans, we've got 32 parades that happen in that 12 day period. some days, our company for example, we will have as many as 150 floats on the street at one time in areas of the city. we have tractors that hold the floats and move them, we throws the beads. it is not just building the floats, but the logistics to put
the parades together. tulane university does an economic impact study. mardi gras is a quarter billion dollar impact. it is like when they talk about the super bowl comes to the city, the impact. mardi gras new orleans is like having three super bowl's in the city every year. for those two weekends, it feels hotel rooms. hundreds of -- fills hotel rooms. hundreds of thousands, to see the parades. they fill hotel rooms. our company is the largest float building company. companiesloats for and celebrations all over the world. there are eight other companies in new orleans doing this job of building floats. crewes have a late captain.
a benevolent dictator. they can have as many as 37 pulling units, and these units can have multiple floats. the biggest parades will have 80 floats in it. they give us an idea of a parade , a theme, we show them some conceptual ideas, they like it or don't like it, we change it, we go to color sketches, then we start building the floats themselves. >> so this is a robotic arm. right now we are putting up this rhinoceros. i take a 3-d model. sometimes we do our own 3-d models here. model once it is cut up. it will go over for a hard coat. they will add more detail by
hand with clay. the robot is good with some stuff, but it can't get the nitty-gritty details. it is almost supposed to be photorealistic. >> i am a prop painter. i put the color and update the 's arts, like the crewe director. 1001 arabian nights. so we've got some updates to do to the turbine design, a-- turban design, and some embellishment on his vest as well. i know he is holding a lamp in the image, but we try to make due -- the title will be 1001 arabian nights, and i will try to implement the title onto the book face.
i am updating this year's design, which is a completely different color and design. i work on at least 200 a year. some of those being touch=u -ups, where it is not a full on job. >> 80% of the floats are completely redone, and 20% are what we call signature units. those clothes stay the same -- floats stayed the same every year. maybe a king's float or a queen's float, or a jester or the butterfly king. these signature floats are ones people are used to seeing every year. the theme of the parade will change.
we help them with logistics. we help them get cleaned up from last year. we work out of 20 different warehouses in new orleans alone. the average carnival den is about 100,000 square feet for the bigger one, so the smaller ones are 20,000 to 30,000. we are working of millions of thousands of square feet full of floats. this job is going on here around. in mardi gras, it is bus y busy busy. it is not stop. you don't get to see your family, you don't get to see anybody. making petals that will go on the side of the float -- it is really simple to to.
i try to tell every one that comes by how to do it. you just take posterboard or petaloard, cut our your shapes, cut your wire with a 10 gauge wire. you can color them any way you want to. you want the dress to pop out. but a bigis nothing -- that rolls down the street. you have these hard edges on it. walk through the prop shop, you've got a flower department just working on props. you have a sculpting department, where they will sculpt what the name figure is going to be. that will be sculpted by foam,
papier-mache. that goes to the paint department. once it gets painted, a crew brings it to the building it needs to be brought to. there is a crew with a forklift that will install it, put the flowers on the float that the flower department has built. this process goes year-round. i am working on themes not only for 2019 mardi gras coming up, but 2020 as well. we are a year or two ahead of ourselves because there is so much. we start -- before the carnival, we will start the following year. this is why i think mardi gras new orleans is the most unique cultural celebration in this country, and maybe one of the most unique in the world. number one is mardi gras is noncommercial. it is against the law to have any commercialization of the mardi gras parade.
you will never see a sign that says budweiser or advertisement on a float, because that is against the law. when you go to a mardi gras parade, university spectators, easy -- you never see spectators, you see participants. people are having a good time, s,tching beads from the float so you have the interaction there. mardi gras parades themselves are participatory. we do it for ourselves. we are happy to have people come and visit us, but it is something we do for ourselves in new orleans. mardi gras is about families. i see members of these organizations, generations of families. on the streets of new orleans, easy generations of families -- you see generations of families,
together. -- come together. what bourbon street is known for, what people think of when they think about mardi gras. sure people are drinking and having a good time, but it is when families come together. mardi gras new orleans is a fantastic celebration where you can see incredible pageants with bands, floats, catch lots of beads and trinkets, and it is fun for families. indi gras is about families new orleans. >> [cheering] ♪
is thele say that jazz oldest american art form. i don't know if it is the oldest, but it is certainly the most famous. >> ♪ yes i'm going back to stay i'm going to new orleans ♪ >> something the crowding -- it's something the country can be proud of. it is something that defines americans. it speaks to the truth and to the great issues of our time and of humanity. right now we are on the second floor of the new orleans jazz
museum in the u.s. mint. the hurricane katrina, jazz exhibit was moved out and put into storage until now. we have slowly but surely started taking the instruments and exhibits out of the archive. having the cases behind me, the gonzales mural, all slowly but surely we are getting out. there is a jazz museum. the entire plan is to turn the second floor into an 8000 square foot history of jazz new orleans exhibit. new orleans jazz brings to mind a collectively improvised dance ndsic influenced by blues a spirituals, and ragtime and assorted other things that came through the crescent city.
♪ jazz starts in new orleans for a number of different reasons. one is that new orleans is a huge port town, so much of different cultures that contributed to jazz came here through the port, through people bringing goods either from europe or the caribbean or northern parts from the mississippi. there was a large presence of enslaved africans here, and yet the laws governing how you treated these enslaved africans were much more lenient than any other place in the country. i am not at all saying it was easy to be a slave here. it was as difficult as you could expect. bites did have it a teeny easier here. they had a day off.
they could on their own property, they could own their own businesses, so it was a little more lenient for them. that meant the cultural tropes they brought from africa stayed here longer than other places. in terms of all the things that came together for jazz, you can start seeing it in the early 1890's, and then probably by about the early 1900, 1910, somewhere in the neighborhood -- you can hear something that if you heard it today, you would say, that is jazz. music has always been an essential part of the culture. operaay the first
opera performed in america was performed here. we had lots of dance halls, lots of places to hear music. music has always been an inherent part of the culture. because of that, music is a part of every cultural tradition. there is always music at the parades, your parties, your christening, your funerals -- everything you hire of them for. -- hire a band for. >> we have the largest collection in the world related to new orleans just. -- new orleans jazz. this is a cornet lewis armstrong learned to play. it was sent to him after shooting off a pistol on new year's eve. ♪ >> lewis armstrong was born on jane ally, which is now where
the municipal court is. he was born about as poor as you could probably be in this country. in groups singing with his friends, one of those kids you see with bottle all caps on -- bottlecaps on the bottom of their shoes. a very resourceful kid. played a little bit, sang, and was arrested on new year's eve when he was seven for shooting andmom's boyfriend's pistol sent to a year iand a half in a colored wayhome. he started playing in the band there. by the time he got out, he had the idea he wanted to be a
musician. almost a father figure to him, h a liver and his wife would -- oliver and his wife would have him home for dinner. >> you can see this was played not just by armstrong, but for many years afterwards. presented as a gift to the new orleans jazz museum in 1965. the his byirmed to the notches you see in the mouthpiece. he believed it gave him more of a grip with his mouth on the end of the instrument. we moved to another area of the museum. this is an area where we having of her of instruments on display. this one is a particular interest -- a trump it owned --
terumpet owned by dave bartholomew. ♪ he is still living. he is in his 90's now. he was a prolific producer, writer, and bandleader. he was fundamental in fats domino's career. he produced arrangements for fats domino's early rock 'n roll work. and we know fats domino is one of the earliest in rock 'n roll. dave bartholomew as a jazz wr iter is a direct connection to rock 'n roll. beingdespite internationally known, one of the creators of rock 'n roll, he returned to his home and wanted
to live in new orleans. his home was damaged in new orleans, flooded heavily. it floated in about 12 feet of water. once the water receded, it was heavily damaged. the legs had broken off. the entire piano was really in horrible condition. it has been conserved. it is not playable, but it has been brought close to its original appearance. the repair folks said if we try to make it playable again, it wouldn't be the same piano. we did not want to lose that historical nature. >> ♪ you make me cry when you say goodbye shame ♪ t a >> fats domino was from new orleans. he influenced really all of rock 'n roll.
inn the beatles came here 1965, they asked if they could meet with fats domino. there is a famous photo of the beatles with fats domino. he had many friends. many musicians played within his entire career. they went on to create their own music and their own bands. he had a strong influence on music here in new orleans and throughout the world. ag was asing a year majoro blow to the city. he left a wonderful legacy to the city. he influenced so many people with his warmth and with his music. ♪ sweet among their it was born in 1987 -- 1887 and died in 1943,
a true new orleans character. she was known by the bell she wore on her ankles. she was a wonderful musician. years, and the 1960's or so, she began playing at preservation hall, and was a well so now musician. -- sought out musician. we have a wonderful video of sweet emma playing in jazzfest. orleans style.w ♪ >> so now we have moved into the collection storage area, so come this way.
of jazz the father drilling. it will be one of the prime drum sets we will have an exhibit later on in september. when folks come to the museum, i would like for them to take away the deep history of the music here. that is a living breathing art form in new orleans. it is a part of everything that goes on in the country. even people that say they don't know jazz, know jazz songs. it is a part of your history, even if you don't realize it. ♪ >> while in new orleans, we took a driving tour of the city with uthor, historical author
richard camponella. >> you are professor, you are an author, not from here originally. >> born in brooklyn new york. while growing up in brooklyn, one of my early childhood readers was a book about abraham lincoln. 100 inars old in 1970 that book, i learned lincoln had to come down this long river to this exotic city at the other end. they were referring to the mississippi in new orleans. boy piqued my little imagination. for --inted the seed planted the seed for a fascinations for new orleans that eventually became for -- by profession. >> we are in a place you don't typically think of when you think of new orleans. where are we? >> the iconic imagery of new
orleans is the narrow streets of the french quarter, the cast iron balconies. this too is new orleans. this is a city park. this is beautiful bayou st. john . us,ave cyprus trees around people enjoying the outdoors here. this bayou, you almost can't overstate its importance in the history and geography of the city, because it directly influenced why be unveiled -- why our founder established it here. ound,ught we would loop ar follow the bayou into the city and talk about how it led to the founding of new orleans. let's talk a little bit about basic geography here. behind us to the north is a
tidal lagoon known as lake country. onchartrain. if you go this way, you get to the mississippi river. the challenge for those in in 1680 and times 1689 was how to effectively connect these two water bodie s, the gulf to the whole american hinterland in the north on the other. this bayou allowed them to circumvent the muddy mississippi river and instead come through pontcharttrain through
bayou st. john into the banks of the mississippi river. you can get to the mississippi river with outgoing up -- without going up the mississippi. this overpass, you will see bayou st. john. if you draw a line from this body to the high-rises, that marks that two-mile portage trail. it was going through swamp, but this particular route was just a couple feet above the swamp land, and that made it a dry terrestrial portage. we are going along bayou st. john, and we are going to follow it more closely here, making a right. this was an early plantation region.
small truck farms and dairy them as well as larger commodity plantations. we have example of older colonial era plantation houses here. in a moment we will see a 1788 plantation house that is known as the old spanish customs house, which also embodies that great look of -- it's right over here. this is one of my favorite streets in the city, grant route st. john. 1788, old spanish customs house. notice the double pitched roof, the raised construction, the center chimney, the brick construction. imagine different buildings of that size and massing with various distances dispersed
throughout the french quarter. that is what early colonial new orleans would have looked like. we now are on the slightly elevated ridge that allowed for foot passengers between bayou st. john and the french quarter. you would have had swamps to your left and right, but right here would have been a very narrow foot road that allowed people to get to the river without going up the river. new orleans would probably be in a different place and a different name if it weren't for this almost imperceptible geography you are on now. the water knows. nt, thato make this poi in studying the topographic elevation of the city, i
--that is the point. in a relatively flat environment, what television you have becomes that -- what little thattion you have becomes difference. this is chantilly boulevard. whenever you see an old road that curves, that is probably following a topographic ridge through the swamps. we are going into the rear blo cks faubourg treme, a subdivision appendage to the original city. the french quarter was surrounded by a series of
faubourgs developed in the early 1800s after the louisiana purchase as the population started to boom. 1810 forconstructed in people of color, who had more rights here in new orleans than anywhere in antebellum america. here is a monument to the unknown slave. you notice the shackles dangling from the anchor. is st. aug church, 1841. very different look, even though it had the same architect as the st. louis cathedral. this is an arguably the heart of the treme neighborhood. great examples of mid to late antebellum creole cottages. >> what is this agreement today?
-- this neighborhood today? >> this neighborhood is changing, it is gentrifying. there is an older rooted population that is more likely to be african-american and described itself as creole. the proximity to the french quarter, the higher ground is on the extent attractive to many other folks for cultural and historical and civic reasons. we are going to cross rampart quieternd now into the more residential end of the world-famous french quarter. >> we are starting to see more thehat wrought-iron, architecture you think of as more iconic. we are now on quiet bourbon street. end. is a quiet
>> there is. it spills several blocks into adjacent neighborhoods. the commercial bourbon street is only the first eight or so blocks. the rest is a quite residential neighborhood -- quiet residential neighborhood almost indistinguishable from the rest of the french quarter. >> what do people get wrong about new orleans? when they think of bourbon street top of mind, are they missing out? >> no. i am the type that sees all impressions of new orleans as being interesting indicators of people's impressions. i see everyone in this city as having a head full of impressions and expectations, and icy that -- and i see that as all legitimate and interesting. one of my books is on the history of bourbon street. it took me to make peace with
what i said. >> what do you think changed for you? >> in studying this phenomenon of bourbon street today, i realized tourism and visitation that everything that goes on in bourbon street, first of all, has deep historic precedents, and in and o itselff is a legitimate cultural expression. ago,u were here 200 years there was an economy catering to escapism and hedonism and drinking. bourbon street is the modern-day manifestation, the clever repackaging of those historical realities. when you think of it that way, suddenly you are a little bit less likely to criticize those things. st. anne'sng down
street. this will get us to one of the most well preserved urban plazas in the nation. the spanish were here for 35 years or so. what we see are two circle 1880 apartments. you will see the st. louis cathedral, and what was the city hall during spanish colonial times, and the main plaza. it is well preserved from about 1850 on. very symmetrical, filled with street life, artists, buskers, pedestrians. it is the absolute historic heart of the city. everyone knows it and everyone loves it. we are about to cross into a
neighborhood called bywater, which had been at the forefront of the post-katrina gentrification of new orleans. >> you mention post-katrina. what was this neighborhood before katrina? >> it was more working class, more african-americans, more nativeborn local folks, more children in the streets, more renters. after katrina, many of those renter families got jostled out because of the whole disruption to l ives here. >> were you living here during katrina? >> yes. in fact, we stayed in our house in bywater. we witnessed the entire day and week. katrina day, august 29, was incredibly intense. eveningeuphoric that that we had survived. we did not realize what was going on, because we were in a
dark house cut off from the rest of the world, that the levees were breached. only the next day, biking around, surveying what happened did i start to surmise. this is not me that disaster, this is a full-blown catastrophe. was 10 times worse than the last. by the time we got out friday, the conditions were apocalyptic. you are in the lower ninth ward here. this was the hardest hit of all the katrina affected areas in louisiana and mississippi. this was the hardest hit because it had the misfortune of being next to the two most severe flood wall breaches. it was a working class
neighborhood. it had a surprisingly high level of home ownership, about 95% african-american. it had the lowest return rate of any katrina affected neighborhood because of the severity of the social vulnerability of the pre-existing population coupled with the extreme nature of the damage done. >> you started biking around seeing the damage. how did you feel? did you feel there would be such a comeback? >> no. when we got out finally that day, september 2, 2005, i will never forget the moment. we figured out the radio rumors that you can get out of the city by going over the bridge to the west bank and basically driving around the flood. i will never forget the view.
it looked like a beautiful day, except there were plumes of smoke rising everywhere. if you look closer, you would see a sheen of water the city was drowning in. at that moment, i never would have guessed new orleans whatever comfort to the way that -- would have recovered to the way that it id. you can't say that without looking at this hardest hit area and realizing the recovery has barely occurred. i would caution against overly succintt in -- overly encapsulations of new orleans in the post-katrina era. there are many successes, and people should tell those stories. you also have an obligation to tell why the steps to nowhere are still there.
>> if there was one thing you wanted people to know about your adopted city, what would it be? >> you can't know the rest of the nation unless you know new orleans. >> why is that? >> because in many ways it is the essence of the nation as it is oftentimes the exception to the nation. southernthe sub underbelly of the north american continent. it is where the caribbean and the soft romantic -- the south american and latin world connected with this vast hinterland of what proved to be the most profitable -- connecting all of these diverse cultures. how could there not be a fascinating city, a notable twotion pivtonoting those
together? it was a mostly roman civil law society in an english common law nation. it was a french surveying region in a township and range surveying nation. it was a francophone city and emotionally -- city in a mostly anglophone nation. a western architectural city in a mostly greek revival nation. you have all these traditions that eventually assimilated and hybridized and affected the rest of the nation in the form of food and architecture. that is why. >> [laughter] thank you so much for showing us around today. >> our visit to new orleans is in american history tv exclusive, and we showed it to you to introduce you to our cities tour.
we bring historic sites to our viewers. you can watch more on c-span.org/citiestour. >> tonight on visiting britain for meetings with prime minister theresa may and queen elizabeth. then director of national intelligence dan coats on russia and counterterrorism. on newsmakers, alliance for justice president nan aron on their opposition to the brett kavanaugh supreme court nomination. president trump is in the u.k. for an official state visit and meetings with british leaders. after a meeting with premised or theresa may, they held a joint news conference. the president answered questions about his comments on european immigration and his upcoming meeting with the president of russia. this is under one hour.