Hundreds of living-history volunteers and re-enactors are descending on Chalmette Battlefield this week to bring the tales of the Battle of New Orleans to life for the 201st anniversary of the final major battle of the War of 1812.

Festivities for the commemoration will take place Thursday, Jan. 7, through Saturday, Jan. 9, at various locations around the parish, including the Chalmette Battlefield, 8606 W. St. Bernard Highway, in Chalmette. Admission is free to all activities.

Activities at the battlefield, running each day from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., will include traditional favorites such as the living history camps, cannon and musket firings, and military drills, park ranger Kristy Wallisch said.

Volunteers in British, American and civilian camps will share their stories and explain the importance of the battle in American history. There also will be cooking demonstrations, basket-weaving and duck-carving demonstrations, as well as dancing and music of the period. Presenters will share life in 1815 through hands-on activities, games and crafts.

Parking for events at the battlefield is available at the St. Bernard Parish government complex, 8201 W. Judge Perez Drive, Chalmette, where shuttle buses will run continuously to and from the battlefield each day.

On Friday, Jan. 8, there will be a 3 p.m. wreath-laying ceremony near the Chalmette Monument in honor of those who fought in the Battle of New Orleans, a tradition upheld each year since the centennial commemoration in 1915. There will be guest speakers, musicians and 1815-era British and American troop and civilian re-enactors.

Nunez Community College will host the fourth annual Battle of New Orleans Historical Symposium on Thursday, Jan. 7, and Sunday, Jan. 10, from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the college’s auditorium, 3710 Paris Road, Chalmette.

The symposium will feature knowledgeable and entertaining lecturers and a host of other historical entertainment options. Lunch is included.

Admission to the symposium is free, and food is included, but registration is required. For more information or to register, contact Curtis Manning at (504) 512-5120 or

The Louisiana Living History Foundation will host free battle re-enactments throughout the day on Friday, Jan. 8, at the Meraux Living History Park on an undeveloped piece of property along Patricia Street behind the Chalmette Wal-Mart. The location is the original geographic region where most of the battles of the War of 1812’s New Orleans campaign took place. The events at this location have been made possible by the Joseph & Arlene Meraux Charitable Foundation, honorary Consul of Great Britain James Coleman and Terry Tedesco.

Organizers of the Battle of New Orleans are looking for volunteers to work five-hour shifts Thursday through Saturday at the Chalmette Battlefield. Positions include information desk and visitor center sales assistants, bus stop and boat dock greeters, cleanup crew members and demonstrator assistants.

For information or to volunteer, call (504) 281-0510 or visit

Maumus grand opening

The St. Bernard Parish School Board will host the grand opening of the Maumus Center on Jan. 15 at 7 p.m. at the center, on Friscoville Avenue, in Old Arabi.

The grand opening, for adults only, will include a formal reception requiring cocktail attire. Tickets are $50 per person and are available at the St. Bernard Parish School Board office, 200 E. St. Bernard Highway, Chalmette. For information, call Shelby Harrison at (504) 301-2000.

Set to open in the spring to children of St. Bernard Parish, the Maumus Center will be a premier facility spotlighting the sciences and St. Bernard Parish’s rich, diverse history.

“Our hope is that this building will spark the imagination and love for learning in our children and community,” Superintendent Doris Voitier said. “With the growing demands of the 21st century and surrounding industries, our students will need to be innovative and creative thinkers. This building will help provide them with the experiences necessary to develop these skills.”

Administrators and School Board members were the first to attend a tour of the building, hosted by Albert Carey, architect for the St. Bernard Parish School Board. During the tour, Carey highlighted the main features of the new building, which include a state-of-the-art planetarium, beautifully restored theater, food science kitchen and edible garden.

Gina Asevado, who will serve as director of the Maumus Center, was struck by the outpouring of stories administrators shared as they toured the building.

“I have only been in this parish for 14 years,” Asevado said. “The personal connections that so many of our administrators have to this building gave me goosebumps. This building has such a rich history in this community, and I am excited to be a part of its future.”

The Maumus Center, built in 1929, was the site of the parish’s first high school.

Nunez PTEC registration

Nunez Community College’s industrial technology program has received accreditation from The Association of Technology, Management and Applied Engineering. ATMAE is a specialized accreditor for technology and applied engineering degrees. PTEC is a high-wage, high-skill and high-demand profession. Most positions involve working on-site in manufacturing or processing facilities.

Nunez will again offer its PTEC Fast Track program this month, and the deadline has been extended to Monday, Jan. 11. Fast Track is designed to help those with an associate degree or higher attain an associate of applied science degree in industrial technology in 16 weeks.

The next Fast Track program will begin Jan. 19. Fast Track classes will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The semester is broken into four mini-sessions of four weeks each.

The Fast Track program is a selective admissions program, and a limited number of spaces are available.

For information, contact Don Hoffman, director of technology programs, at (504) 278-6305 or visit

Kim Gritter writes about people, places and events in St. Bernard Parish. She can be reached at