A Bloodless Victory is available December 24th.
Here’s a final taste of the book:
Their vapory clouds of breath appeared and disappeared with vibrant frequency in the crisp January air. They were tired, so very tired. They had pushed themselves hard on the route from Fort St. John to the Vieux Carré. Thankfully, though, the end of their journey lay within sight. There, standing before them, the blue-coated officer waved them on and encouraged them, his shock of white hair clearly visible beneath the bicorn hat resting on his head. Andrew Jackson did not cheer these young participants on; rather, Hugh Sothern did. The runners were not Plauche’s battalion in 1815, but, instead, New Orleans–area joggers in 1938.
In recognition of the world premiere of The Buccaneer, New Orleans hosted a grand spectacle around the city. At this particular event, the winner of the “Brave Creoles Run” would receive the “Cecil B. DeMille” trophy. Elsewhere in New Orleans, city boosters carefully crafted an image of their region which mirrored the fantasy and myth depicted in DeMille’s screen version of New Orleans. Indeed, during a radio interview between Lyle Saxon and Cecil B. DeMille, the famous director opined, “More than a hundred years have passed since Jean Laffite held the future of America in the palm of his hand, yet here in New Orleans, steeped in tradition and romance, it almost seems as if he were still alive.”
New Orleans in the mid-twentieth century was a city struggling to find an identity. Trying to cash in on the growing industry of cultural tourism, many in the New Orleans area lobbied for an aura that highlighted the romanticized past of the city. Others, looking at the success of Southern cities such as Dallas and Atlanta, felt that New Orleans must modernize at all costs to survive. This debate had dramatic implications for elements of the city’s past such as the Battle of New Orleans commemoration and the event’s historical memory.
The most tangible evidence for New Orleans’s tri-cornered conflict between modernization, preservation, and cultural tourism lay six miles downriver from the French Quarter at the Chalmette Monument. The Daughters of 1812 had fought a valiant delaying action against the encroachment of industry on the Chalmette battlefield, but by the end of the 1920s, they needed help. The efforts of the federal government in general and the NPS specifically during the next thirty years provided an intriguing story that highlights the dynamic struggles of historic preservation efforts. Whereas many of the nation’s most famous battlefield parks (Gettysburg, Antietam, Saratoga) reside in largely rural areas, the Chalmette battlefield contended with a host of urban planning issues. As a result, the NPS faced considerable difficulty in its preservation efforts, and the outcome of those efforts had a lasting impact on citizens’ memories of the Battle of New Orleans.