In a nation fascinated by the Greatest Generation that fought World War II, the presence of the USS Kidd in downtown Baton Rouge should be a source of pride and inspiration. We’re heartened by recent efforts to spruce up the Kidd museum, and we hope that discussions about the Kidd’s future yield a solid plan for preserving this valuable piece of history.
The Kidd, a naval destroyer named after Admiral Isaac Campbell Kidd, a slain hero of Pearl Harbor, was launched in 1943 and performed valuable service in the South Pacific and other combat theaters. The Kidd was decommissioned for the last time in 1964, and the ship opened as a museum in Baton Rouge in 1983.
The Kidd recently reopened after a three-week renovation project. It’s a hopeful development after recent troubles at the museum, where an audit found bookkeeping irregularities under the former executive director. Alex Juan, the current director, said she’s been addressing the financial problems she inherited when she started the job in 2013.
She said fundraising and foot traffic have picked up, with a record high of 86,000 visitors last year.
We hope that progress continues. The Kidd performed a valuable service in protecting America, and with diligent stewardship, the destroyer should have seen more years of service as a reminder of a critical chapter in this nation’s history.