The school day program held Friday at Audubon State Historic Site made history come alive according to several seventh-graders from West Feliciana Middle School attending the event.
“I liked the black powder demonstration,” said student David Sellers.
Kernan Cooper, who was watching the blacksmith’s demonstration, agreed the event was “pretty good education-wise” as well as interesting.
Spencer Malone said he liked the “hands-on” aspect of the school day.
Students learned about life in British West Florida in the Felicianas during the American Revolution by watching demonstrations and trying their hands at candle-making, military drills and games familiar to children of that period.
The seventh-grade class from the local middle school and their teachers spent the morning learning about the local angle of the American Revolution.
“I thought it was great. The people presenting the program really appreciated history,” said Emily Branton, a seventh-grade American History teacher. “We had just finished studying the American Revolution so the timing was perfect.”
She said the students enjoyed cannon demonstrations as well as the black powder demonstration and the colonial military drill.
“They even fired the cannon twice for us. It’s great that programs like this are sponsored by our state historic sites. They are a great resource for teachers. We found out about the school day program just in time to be able to register. We decided to take the entire grade of 150 students on the field trip,” Branton said.
In addition to the WFMS students, about a dozen home-schoolers from Mississippi also took advantage of the school day program.
Parks personnel, volunteers and re-enactors from several states gave demonstrations and talks on everyday activities from the colonial period including candle-making, open-hearth cooking, blacksmithing, children’s games, life of a soldier, medical treatments and women’s clothing.
“This program is the largest Revolutionary War program in Louisiana and represents a turning point in history,” said John House, site manager. “It also gives students and visitors a chance to experience the past as their ancestors did long ago.”
At that time, British West Florida was the 14th British colony within what would become the continental United States. Colonists in the area chose to remain loyal to King George III, while the other 13 rebelled. The British soldiers stationed throughout the colony and at the New Richmond fort were members of the British 16th Regiment of Foote.
This year marks the 235th anniversary of the 1779 battle at the New Richmond fort.
Throughout the year, Audubon State Historic Site presents a variety of educational programs, many with special Friday school days scheduled. The next scheduled program is A Civil War Christmas: A Civil War School Day marking the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Alexander Creek near Oakley House, from 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 5.
Preregistered students will learn about Christmas in the Felicianas during the Civil War. There will be black powder weapon demonstrations, cannon demonstrations, open hearth cooking, drilling, life of a soldier, Christmas on the homefront and more. There is no fee for preregistered participants.
For more information, or to schedule a field trip, call Audubon State Historic Site at (225) 635-3739.
Audubon State Historic Site is at 11788 La. 965, St. Francisville, and is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday. Visit crt.state.la.us/louisiana-state-parks/historic-sites/audubon-state-historic-site/.