Tall ships, Navy vessels and Blue Angels Air Show headline full week of activities
NEW ORLEANS – Mayor Mitch Landrieu, joined by dignitaries from the Navy, Coast Guard and OpSail has announced an international event premiering in New Orleans to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 and the Star Spangled Banner. Tall ships and military vessels from around the world and the nation will descend upon New Orleans during NOLA Navy Week, April 17-23. A full week of rare opportunity and interactive fun is planned for the public. The week will also bring two Blue Angels air shows, for the first time, over the shores of Lake Pontchartrain.
“New Orleans was an integral part of the War of 1812, a war that would help to shape America,” said Landrieu. “To be chosen to begin this national 200th anniversary event in New Orleans speaks to our city’s unique ability to celebrate all that makes America great with the most unique assets in the nation including our food, music, and culture.”
City Council President Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson said, “This will be one of the most important events in this City, despite falling in the middle of five other major events. Navy Week puts us in an international spotlight of having been one of the best Navy and military support cities in America.”
Thousands of sailors will descend upon the city and become involved in sports activities, community service to restore areas affected by Hurricane Katrina, and visits to hospitals. There will also be a seafood cook-off featuring Navy chefs and Louisiana chefs.
“We are excited to showcase our ships, sailors, and marines to this great city and I know the sailors are excited to make this port of call,” said Rear Adm. John Scorby, Commander Navy Region Southeast. “We hope the citizens of New Orleans will take advantage of this opportunity to meet your sailors, coast guardsmen and marines, and learn how we’ve protected freedom of the seas for 200 years.”
The U.S. Coast Guard will also participate in the citywide activities.
“The Coast Guard has a long and rich military history providing security and enabling American prosperity through maritime commerce,” stated Capt. Tom Kaye, chief of planning and force readiness for Coast Guard’s Eighth District. “We encourage everyone to tour the Coast Guard Cutter Eagle, our premier tall ship used for navigation and leadership training, and talk to the many Coast Guard members who will be participating in these events.”
Tours of ships will be offered to groups in the morning and the general public in the afternoon. Visitors, including school groups and history buffs, will see a spectacle not seen in New Orleans in recent memory. Exhibits will be plentiful with information about the importance the War of 1812 and New Orleans’ pivotal role. The Historic New Orleans Collection will also host a panel discussion regarding the significance of the historic event.
“Our New Orleans Host Committee has been working for more than a year with the U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command to bring this event to our city,” said Mark Romig, chair of the host committee and president and CEO of New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp. “NOLA Navy Week will celebrate with tall ships from around the world and vessels from America’s military as well as Great Britain, Canada and France. This week will be a fitting tribute to the importance this event played in America’s independence and position in the world as a naval power.”
Coming to New Orleans are the tall ships Guayas of Ecuador, Dewaruci of Indonesia and the U. S. Coast Guard Barque Eagle. Other ships visiting the Port of New Orleans will include the USS Gettysburg, the HMS Montrose from Britain, the USS WASP, the USS Mitscher, the FS Germinal from France, the USS De Wert and the HSCS St. John’s from Canada.
“The age of sail lives on in the majestic international tall ships coming to New Orleans,” said Jose Fuentes, chairman of Operation Sail. “Visiting these ships will inspire young future sailors and provide an appreciation for the rigors, discipline and character-building that sail training represents. It will also be a great deal of fun!”
NOLA Navy Week is a kickoff to a three year commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 that will also end in New Orleans in 2015. Other ports the tall ships and military vessels will visit are the Atlantic Coast in New York, Norfolk, Baltimore, Boston, and New London. Commemoration events in the Great Lakes will take place in Milwaukee, Chicago, Toledo, Cleveland, Detroit, and Buffalo.
For more information, visit www.NOLANavyWeek.com.