A depiction of the Battle of New Orleans, which is having its bicentennial next year. // © 2014 Louisiana State Museum
Most people assume the Battle of New Orleans occurred in 1814 due to the hit song by Johnny Horton: “In 1814 we took a little trip / along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip. / We took a little bacon and we took a little beans / and we caught the bloody British in a town of New Orleans.”
Colonel Andrew Jackson and his Tennessee troops may have arrived in Louisiana in 1814, but the actual battle took place on Jan. 8, 1815, at a plantation southeast of the city. The spot is now a historic site known as Chalmette Battlefield, operated by the National Park Service.
Next year, Louisiana and the city of New Orleans will be hosting a series of events related to the Battle of New Orleans bicentennial.
Festivities will begin on Jan. 6, 2015, with “General Pakenham’s Final Supper,” named after General Edward Pakenham, commander of the British forces at New Orleans. This costumed event will take place at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel and features a five-course menu. Special bicentennial accommodation packages are available.
“We expect the heirs of General Pakenham to be there,” said Marc Becker, hotel director of sales and marketing.
The actual anniversary of the battle, on Jan. 8, 2015, will see a slew of events around the region. These include a ceremony at the Chalmette Battlefield; a fireworks show and performance by the U.S. Marine Corps Band on the New Orleans riverfront; a reenactment of the battle with more than 1,500 participants; the annual flag-raising ceremony in Jackson Square hosted by the Daughters of 1812; the 200th annual Thanksgiving Mass, hosted by the Ursuline nuns at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Prompt Succor; and the exhibit “From Dirty Shirts to Buccaneers: The Battle of New Orleans in American Culture,” which can be seen at The Cabildo museum in Jackson Square.
In addition, the Friends of the Cabildo will host a Battle of New Orleans Symposium on Jan. 10, 2015.
Hotel Monteleone will be the host hotel for the commemoration and will offer a block of rooms at a special rate for participants.
And finally, since this is New Orleans after all, the historic Pat O’Brien’s bar has created a rye whiskey cocktail called the Battle Crye. The creation is based on a drink found in an early 1800s recipe book, and it’s served in a commemorative glass.