Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- A centuries old cannon is lowered into its newly built carriage in front of the Cabildo Tuesday, September 30, 2014. The much traveled cannon was first used by the Spanish in the colonial period, was used by American forces in the Battle of New Orleans and protected the city from invasion via the lake during the Civil War at Spanish Fort. It was sunk in the lake by Confederate forces after the Union took New Orleans in 1862. It was rescued from the lake and since 1908 it has stood sentry at the front of the Cabildo. Interestingly the cannon has been loaded since the Civil War, a fact the workers learned during the work on the cannon. The projectile that was recovered was on display as well.

If the British ever arrive again — even the Yankees, come to think of it — the artillery of the Cabildo is ready.

At nearly 3 tons, the cannon that has been outside the Cabildo is a familiar site for generations of Louisianians. Its provenance is Spanish, but it was known to have been used in the defense of New Orleans in the battles of Christmas 1814 and New Year’s 1815.

It was thrown into Lake Pontchartrain by Confederates after the Union forces fought their way up the Mississippi River in 1862 but was fished out and has been on display in the French Quarter since 1908.

A restoration project and new carriage will make the famous cannon another feature of Louisiana’s celebration of the victory of Gen. Andrew Jackson over the British in the War of 1812.

We welcome it as part of the tremendous history that natives and visitors can enjoy at the 200th anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans.