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Traveling History Exhibit Visits St. Bernard Parish Public Schools

Innovative Traveling Exhibit Sheds Light on St. Bernard History

How did the events of the American Revolutionary impact the lives of ordinary people? That question was explored recently when Chalmette High School played host to a pop-up exhibition called the American Revolution Experience. A collaborative project of the American Battlefield Trust and the Daughters of the American Revolution, the exhibit connects modern audiences with the fascinating story of the birth of our nation.

Visitors and student guests enjoyed the display panels that brought history to life through storytelling, illustration, and artifacts, all narrated by volunteers of the various chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Mary Ellen Menge, Louisiana Society’s Southeast director, said it was a wonderful experience for volunteers and students alike. “The students were so respectful and willing to listen and ask questions. Thanks to Chalmette High School for allowing us the opportunity to share this wonderful display.”

Charles Cassar, Director of Cultural Arts for St. Bernard Public Schools, said bringing local history to life was another aim of the experience.  “Bernardo de Gálvez, Spanish Governor of Louisiana and the namesake of our community, actually participated in support of the American Revolution,” Cassar said. “This history has been overlooked for more than 100 years. He helped stop the advancement of the British in Baton Rouge, and most importantly opened a supply chain to General Washington.”

Cassar was also quick to credit Ronald Drez for his insight. “Mr. Drez delivered a riveting lecture which took us all on our remarkable journey - from the onset of the Revolution, to the finish at the Battle of New Orleans. This event was the ultimate launch for the American Republic and has its origins in our own community.”

Parish Historian Bill Hyland also shared his expertise with the students, highlighting the incredible men and women who were major contributors to America’s story. In addition to information about Gálvez, Hyland also talked about the influence of men like Chalmette and De La Ronde. Hyland also explained the purpose and arrival of the Canary Islanders and the part they played in the overall defense plan for the Greater New Orleans area. He also stressed the diversity and the multicultural participation of the many people who participated in this journey.

Superintendent Doris Voiter said the presentation tied in nicely with the district’s theme for the year. “As we celebrate our legacy of learning, we are truly grateful for the experience our students enjoyed,” Voitier said. “Thank you to the Daughters of the American Revolution for sharing your stories and making these connections. This innovative approach really brought history to life.”