The National World War II Museum
The National World War II Museum preserves the memories, artifacts, and history of World War II. This world-class museum strives continuously to tell and maintain the stories of the veterans of World War Two, our Greatest Generation.
The last several months have seen diminished crowds of visitors at the museum; the guests are returning. In 2019, the guest numbered two thousand daily. Today, you may have many of the exhibits to yourself.
Your museum journey begins as it did for many soldiers, in a train car toward boot camp and training. During your short train trip, you meet a military member that you can follow throughout their wartime experience. Through numerous interactive displays placed throughout the museum’s exhibits, you will learn of the member’s war journey. It is an immersive experience.
The galleries of original artifacts, stories, and videos will connect you to the war in a very emotional way. Many of the war’s battles are told through exhibits beginning with the battles in Europe then moving through the Pacific theater.
Temporary exhibits include “Remembering Light,” Frederick McDonald’s story, who as an Army chaplain’s and his quest to remember the sacrifice of scared buildings lost in the fighting. It is a testament to one man’s study of history.
My father, Charles Scott, served with the Marines as a PFC in the Pacific, in both Tarawa and Tinian. Like many of the Greatest Generation, he never discussed his service in any great detail. The U.S. staged the nuclear bomb in Tinian before it was deployed in Japan. I was living in Guam on the 50th anniversary of dropping the atomic bomb. I sent Dad an article about Tinian.
He told me he had never known what had been housed in the buildings where he stood guard, and now he knew. I was surprised to learn that my Dad had witnessed such an essential part of history. Unfortunately, Dad did not have a chance to contribute his story to the museum’s collection.
Get hungry during your visit? Try the American Section Restaurant and Bar for a bite of lunch. The menu is Cajun centered and has something for everyone. it’s a satisfying way to recoup your energy to continue your museum journey.
The five museum pavilions are massive, and visitors can move through the exhibits at their own pace. Beyond all Boundaries is an amazingly realistic 4D film and well worth seeing. You get a real feel of the sights and sounds of wartime.
A parade ground is under construction at the museum that will be roofed by a white canopy. Construction on the sixth pavilion that will cover the end of the war, the bombing of Japan, the signing of the peace treaty, the manufacturing effort throughout the U.S., and it will contain a Holocaust memorial will begin soon.
This world-class museum is a must-see when visiting New Orleans. Make sure that you give yourself ample time to immerse yourself in the exhibits.
Located across the street from the National World War II Museum, the Higgins Hotel is reminiscent of the 40s style with a new hotel’s features. The hotel provides superb accommodation to its guests, and the venue is pristine.
A mural above the hotel desk harkens back to New Orleans’ contribution to the war effort. Throughout the hotel, you will find artwork straight out of the museum’s collection of photographs.
The Higgins Hotel opened to guests in October 2019. The National WWII museum wholly owns the 230 room hotel. There are sixteen suites and three presidential suites named for the era’s Presidents: Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower.
Among some of the Higgins’ first guests were a group of ninety-year-old Marines who had climbed the hill in Iwo Jima. They appreciated the style of the newly opened hotel.
The rooms are large with period-style furniture with current amenities that we now require. The bathroom is massive with a tub, two vanities, shower, and water closet. The bed was exceptionally comfortable. The 55in TV provided an abundant channel selection. The skyline views were spectacular.
Kilroy’s, the lobby bar, will serve you drinks, or you can enjoy the rooftop bar, Rosie’s on the Roof, that overlooks the WWII museum and the city. Rosie’s provided tasty food, and I would recommend the Crab beignets.
The bar service was quick and a beautiful sunset, a bonus. You can book tickets to the museum on the Ipad at your bedside. Hotel packages include admission to the World War II museum and parking.
Andrew Jackson Higgins, the hotel’s namesake
The Higgins Hotel’s namesake is Andrew Jackson Higgins, who manufactured landing boats for the Navy. President Eisenhower said Higgins’s contribution to the war effort was that he “allowed us to win the war.” Without the landing craft built by Higgins, Eisenhower’s invasion plans of Europe would have taken six years.
Higgins made twenty-two thousand, five hundred boats in two years with a company of forty people. Ultimately, the company was able to ramp up production in New Orleans to some twenty-five thousand employees, running three shifts a day producing the boats. Higgins also produced Liberty ships and PT boats at its factory on St. Charles Avenue. By the end of the war, Higgins had five factories operating, including the Michaud manufacturing plant in East New Orleans. The plant was constructed in the 1940s for Higgins’ boat production.
At the time, the Michaud plant was the largest covered area in the county and would eventually go to NASA. Unfortunately, Higgins’s downfall was that he only had one client, the Navy. He didn’t transition to the post-war economy and, after other ventures, went bankrupt. He died in 1955. Higgins is well remembered at the National World War II Museum for his huge contribution to the war effort.
The Higgins Hotel is a Hilton Curio property. It’s close proximity to the Museum makes it an easy choice for excellent accommodation. After a day of learning the story of World War II, enjoy a drink at Kilroy’s or Rosie’s on the Roof.