WWII Brought to Life


Landing craft used for amphibious landings of troops and equipment in WWII were built by Andrew Higgins and Higgins Industries of New Orleans. Originally opened as the D-Day Museum, The National WWII Museum founding historian Stephen Ambrose (of Band of Brothers fame), wished to pay tribute to Higgins. That is the reason this museum is in New Orleans.

On par with the 911 Memorial in NYC, The National WWII Museum is a must-see for every school-age child and adult. It is a reason to come to New Orleans.

The completely interactive facility issues each participant a “dog tag” and the option to follow a soldier through the exhibits.  You can select your own or let the computer take care of it.  In any case, these are real men and women.  I let the computer choose, and followed a Japanese-American medic through his experience in Europe and as a German POW.

All Aboard!

All Aboard!

You begin your journey boarding a Union-Pacific train to your basic training location. This museum is high-tech and uses all the latest bells and whistles to bring history to life. If you think you knew everything about WWII, guess again. Not only are the exhibits, videos, oral histories, memorabilia and re-creations incredibly informative, the experience can be very emotional when you picture relatives who served and try to imagine what they went through.

The museum is officially recognized by Congress and is a Smithsonian Institution Affiliations Program, but is an independent not-for-profit. The delightful volunteer docents were readily available to fill in the blanks and answer questions. The campus has four buildings, a parade area, and the Liberation Pavilion is in the planning stages. Each building has ample bathrooms and plenty of spots to sit.

An added bonus is the inclusion of a couple of quality spots to eat.  The American Sector café has outstanding food and service (and, naturally, a complete bar).

Through the years, many of my friends and I have discussed that our Fathers never really talked about the war.  Now we can understand.

During the "Final Mission" - the USS Tang Submarine Experience,  I 'represented' Pete Narowanski on the Torpedo Data Computer. He was one of only 9 survivors.

During the “Final Mission” – the USS Tang Submarine Experience, I ‘represented’ Pete Narowanski on the Torpedo Data Computer. He was one of only 9 survivors.

Need to know:

General admission tickets $23, $20 for Seniors, and $14 for Students & Military; WWII Vets, free.  Options include “Final Mission” interactive submarine experience and “Beyond All Boundaries” a 45 minute 4D movie.  The movie can be added at any time.  For details and info: www.nationalww2museum.org





Daily Trivia Questions (answers next post):

Name two countries not occupied by Germany during WWII?

On what date did Germany unconditionally surrender in WWII?


Last post’s trivia answers:

Which Manning has a home in the Garden District?  Archie

How much does NOLA charge for a shot of Pappy Van Winkle’s?  $135

4 Comments on “WWII Brought to Life

  1. Karen,

    Have you and Fred been to Normandy? Just before we went last year we read Stephen Ambrose’s book (D-Day) and found the whole Higgins boat thing to be incredible. The number of employees, factories set up under canvas, his persistence with the Dept. of the Navy and DOD . . . It boggles my mind that stories like this are not taught in school instead of the dry recitation of facts that we got as high-schoolers. Reading that book made the whole Normandy experience so much richer for us. Also, we ran into a man in the CDG airport as we were getting our luggage who was involved somehow in the 70th Anniversary events last June for the US government. He suggested that we go to the German cemetery as well as the American cemetery. What a good word that was! The contrast was so stark between the two places. We felt like that trip was something of a pilgrimage and it sounds like this museum in NO is a part of that same experience. Can’t wait to have a chance to see it!


  2. Hi Karen,
    My mother has 3 first cousins who were in the war
    And none of them ever said a word about that
    Time. One was at Normandy on D Day, one in the European theater,
    And one was training for the invasion of mainland Japan
    When the A bomb ended the war.
    I didn’t even know 2 of them were in the war
    Until they were in their 80’s, and did not learn from them.
    My mother was a “Curtis Wright Cadet” – these were college
    Women women who took the last two years of aero-
    Engineering at various colleges ( she went to Purdue)
    Then worked on improving aircraft, especially the
    Hell Diver ( I think that is what it’s called). It was in the
    70th anniversary Flyover.
    A book about the cadets’ experiences is available,
    Called “Flying into Yesterday”.

  3. My father also never spoke about the war experiences. But he did not miss going to the Anerican Legion and VFW meetings. There they had others with similar experiences to share.
    The museum sounds like a must do if The Villagers make the river boat cruise from NO next year.
    Thanks for sharing.

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