An old cannon gets the support it needs to impress Cabildo visitors

Published: Sep. 30, 2014 at 10:08 PM CDT
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A cannon considered a lethal weapon in the 1800s, wasn't getting it's "props" at the Cabildo. It was displayed for more than a century on a block of wood. But now, the piece of artillery that defended the city in two wars is finally "propped up" as if ready to defend once again.

"This cannon we've owned since 1908 at the museum, and this is the only time it has had a proper home with this cannon carriage," said Louisiana State Museum Director Mark Tullos.

It took manpower to move the 19th Century cannon to a new home, along with pulleys and chains. It is 8 feet long and weighs 6,000 pounds. The weapon was a heavyweight in the War of 1812 Battle of New Orleans and the Civil War.

"This would have been a lethal weapon. This is probably one of the most feared," Tullos said.

Museum workers made a replica of the carriages used on naval ships and on land.

"Some of our best carpenters took measurements from Chalmette Battlefield and we tried to replicate the cannon carriage," said museum maintenance manager Wade Levy.

The cannon was originally mounted at Fort St. John in the early 1800s where the bayou meets the lake. The cannon was dumped in the bayou after the Civil War.

"We are not sure if it was the victors or the defeated that threw it in the bayou, but it was discovered in the latest part of the 19th Century," Tullos said. "It was donated to the museum in 1908."

The maintenance manager discovered more history while cleaning the cannon a couple of weeks ago.

"We actually pulled this cannon ball from inside the cannon with some oyster shells and broken pottery," he said.

The cannon is one of the highlights of an upcoming bicentennial exhibit on the Battle of New Orleans in American Culture. It opens Jan. 11, 2015.

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