New Orleans History -- Lake Pontchartrain
Sunday, April 14, 2024
Search this site.View the site map.

Washington Artillery Monument

Image and text provided by Henry Harmison.

I received an email from the Louisiana State Museum as follows:

Dear Sir,
I was not aware of the original monument. However, I would suggest
you contact Wayne Everhard, at the Louisiana Division of the New Orleans
Public Library. They are very helpful when it comes to the history of
past sites such as the WA monument.
Their phone is 504-596-2610.
I would forward your request to our curator of maps and manuscripts,
however, she is currently on sick-leave.
I hope this information helps.
Best of luck
Charles Chamberlain
Historian, Louisiana State Museum

Wayne Everard of the New Orleans Public Library was kind enough to furnish the following:

"This article from the Times-Picayune says that the fragment of the old
Washington Artillery Hall was "lost." I seem to recall reading elsewhere that
it was dismantled and stored in a city government warehouse. The Department of
Property Management would likely be the city agency with custody over the
facade if indeed it is still in a city warehouse.

Wayne Everard
New Orleans Public Library "

Times-Picayune, The (New Orleans, LA)

May 15, 1997


Section: METRO
Page: B1
Estimated printed pages: 2

Article Text:
The explosive sound of cannon fire was heard Wednesday in the French Quarter as
Mayor Marc Morial and Louisiana National Guard officials rededicated Washington
Artillery Park.

The Audubon Commission and French Market Corp. teamed up recently to renovate
the area across Decatur Street from Jackson Square at a cost of $880,000.

Morial and other dignitaries participated in ceremonies dedicating Lenny's
News and a visitor information booth on opposite sides of the amphitheater and
ramps that lead from Decatur to the top of the levee along the Mississippi

The visitor center is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets for the
Aquarium of the Americas, Audubon Zoo and other nonprofit attractions are sold
there, and French Market workers provide directions and answer questions for
tourists and residents.

The newsstand, the fourth operated by Lenny and Susan Wormser in New Orleans,
is open 24 hours a day on a trial basis.

Atop the stairs, a 136-year-old Parrott Rifle, a small artillery piece, was
dedicated as a memorial to members of the Battalion Washington Artillery, a
Louisiana National Guard unit established in New Orleans in 1838.

The riverfront park was created in 1938 after officials moved a fragment of
the facade of the artillery unit's demolished armory to the site "as a
permanent memorial to the cannoneers of the old command."

But when the park was renovated in 1972, the fragment was lost. The unit's
presence in the park has been restored with the placement there of the
artillery piece, which was bought for the unit in 1875.

For French Quarter visitors, the most popular part of the park may well be its
renovated public restrooms, which will be open 24 hours a day and patrolled by
French Market security guards. The earlier dank, dark restrooms on the site
were closed several years ago because of vandalism.

The Audubon Commission provided $580,000 for the park's facelift, with
$300,000 coming from the French Market Corp.

The Washington Artillery has had a colorful history. It traveled to Texas to
support Gen. Zachary Taylor during the Mexican-American War.

During the Civil War, the unit joined the Confederate Army and was divided
into six groups. Five participated in campaigns of the Army of Northern
Virginia and one in campaigns of the Army of Tennessee. Members fought in a
number of famous battles, including Antietam, Petersburg and Murfreesboro.
Meanwhile, Union troops occupying New Orleans seized and sold the unit's

After the war, the Washington Artillery disbanded, but its members formed a
benevolent society that remained active until the unit was revived in 1875. In
1898, the unit was pressed into service during the Spanish-American War, and it
also was activated during World Wars I and II.

It was the first National Guard unit declared combat-ready during the Persian
Gulf War in 1991. In 1992, members helped during the aftermath of Hurricane
Andrew in Louisiana.

Today, the battalion, the oldest and most decorated unit in the Louisiana
National Guard, is known as the 1st Battalion, 141st Field Artillery, and is
part of the 256th Infantry Brigade (Mechanized).

Copyright, 1997, The Times-Picayune Publishing Corporation. All Rights
Reserved. Used by NewsBank with Permission.
Record Number: 9705150086

I was talking to Mary Lou Eichorn of the Historic New Orleans Collection this morning and she says she thinks the Monument is in a mini green space in the vecinity of the French Market Bazaar area between Decatur and N. Peters. She called the Vieux Carre' Commission and they told her they didn't know where the structure was (that's curious).

Bright and early this morning I went to the Lower French Qwawtuhz and began my search for the elusive Washington Artillery Monument. You will recall that Mary Lou Eichhorn of the Historic New Orleans Collection thought she saw it somewhere near the French Market Bazaar in a mini greenspace. I canvassed the area on foot this morning but couldn't locate it. I did this BEFORE I went to Molly's at the Market for breakfast (bluddy mereeze, as Bawt an' Bawbra Binawd callem!). So, given Wayne Everard's discovery of a Times Picayune article claiming the monument was put in storeage and promptly lost.....I gotta say I'm stonewalled (heehee....get it? The monument is a "stone wall"!).
The Washington Artillery today is part of the 256th Infantry Brigade.