In Partnership with the Southern Weekend

The Heart of Louisiana: Memories of WWI

A neighborhood's tribute to its fighting men and women.

Heart of WWI

It was the Great War – WWI. You can see the history in almost-forgotten monuments around New Orleans. A neighborhood’s tribute to its fighting men and women at the heart of WWI. Monuments such as a statue of a soldier nicknamed “Doughboy” were erected, and a victory arch was built in the Ninth Ward in 1919, just one year after the war ended.

“It’s actually the first permanent memorial to U.S. service people that goes up in the country,” Eric Seiferth, who curated an exhibit at the Historic New Orleans Collection, said of the victory arch. The exhibit tells the story of WWI and its impact on the city.

In the exhibit, you can read letters written by soldier Alfred Grima Jr. to his mother.

“He is with an artillery unit over in France and sees a number of the major offenses that the United States participates in,” Seiferth said.

As the war nears its end, Grima wants no more of it. He writes, “I’ve lost all curiosity about wars and battle. I’m afraid I had a lot of it at first, but I’ve seen enough and more than enough of it.”

This exhibit also features firsthand accounts of battles, photos of public parks turned into military camps, parades to sell liberty bonds, and celebrations when the war ends.

Find out more about the historic New Orleans Collective here.