New Orleans – D Day & National WW2 Museum
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Today was totally consumed with travel to and from the D Day and National WW2 Museum. Travel to and from the campground to the museum was a challenge – thanks to Mr. Brit we found our way and thanks to Ben’s driving skill it was not as bad as it could have been. Tomorrow, however, we will take a ferry to the French Quarter!
We thought the traffic crush might be over by 9 when we left the campground ; but no such luck. The museum was located in the Warehouse District and we did not think travel on the ferry would work for that location. Well ,whatever, the day was very interesting, informative and enjoyable.
Toll Booth Traffic on Mississippi Bridge
We spent from 10 AM until 4 PM at the museum and were busy and involved the entire time. It is really more of an experience than strictly museum gazing. The Stephen Ambrose/Steven Speilburg/Tom Hanks collaboration on several multi-media presentations created an excellent experience. One was a 4D film presentation that involved visual and audio experiences, odors, shaking seats, and at one point during the Battle of the Bulge – snow falling on the audience. Many personal interviews with all sorts of military members and civilians gave the exhibits depth. All aspects of WW2 from the historical situation around the world prior to the war; the situation on the home front; and both the war in Europe and in the Pacific were covered well. There were WW2 vets around throughout the museum to explain exhibits and answer questions. There was an effort to be sure the participants understood not only the story of the US but also information and comments from both the Germans and Japanese.
We had lunch in a 40’s Soda Shoppe that was part of the complex – we had a Sicilian Special Sandwich – should have shared it – we now have enough left for another day!
Sicilian Special - (half of it!)
There were additional films on the D Day preparations and the Campaign in the Pacific. Both done using actual war footage but put together to tell the story very well. In almost all sections of the displays there were some video interviews to give the information a personal touch. My strongest overall impression was what a great job they did of making all the various parts of WW2 fit together - at least for me it helped me see the time frame and interaction of many separate battles and situations.
I particularly enjoyed talking with a veteran about the landing crafts on display. My Dad’s job in WW2 was teaching swimming as well as how to get on and off these craft. I did not recall ever seeing one as closely as here. This gentleman explained they were made from mahogany which if used in saltwater would last forever…if used in fresh water would rot…learn something everyday! Today I learned more than most days.
The one thing we missed was a performance by the Victory Singers – a trio who present “Andrews Sisters” type music. During the off season they only perform on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
We made it back to the campground after battling traffic again. I was able to get one good photo of the Mississippi from the bridge.
We stopped near the campground and picked up some to-go seafood and enjoyed it back at camp. At 6PM the temperature is only 54 so we expect another cool evening. It is very quiet here at the campground in the evening; but it is filled with construction sounds all day long – starting at 6:30 AM. They are building a flood wall separating the state park from a canal of some sort right beside the road into the campground.
While it does not sound like a very busy day it was a good one. This museum was an activity we had planned to do someday long before we planned this trip. Most of the photos were just not of the quality to post.