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November/December 2016 Issue


Arkansas remembering the day that lives in infamy

With two vessels that bookended America’s role in World War II and an array of exhibits and events, central Arkansas will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor this December.

Arkansas Remembers Pearl Harbor, which will be held Dec. 5–11, will be held at several venues around Little Rock and North Little Rock, but the center of attention will be the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum. With a submarine and tugboat that both served valiantly in World War II, the museum recalls America’s Naval war effort.

The USS Razorback submarine, which visitors can tour, conducted five combat patrols during the war. Her crew sunk Japanese vessels, captured Japanese POWs, and rescued American pilots who had been shot down. At the end of World War II, she was present in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese surrender was signed.

Also moored at the museum is the USS Hoga, a tugboat present during the Pearl Harbor attack on Dec. 7, 1941. Shortly after the first Japanese bombs fell, her crew put her to work rescuing sailors in the water, fighting fires, and pulling ships out of harm’s way for 72 continuous hours. The tug is not yet available for tours.

To observe the day of the attack, the museum will hold a ceremony at 11:30 a.m. on Dec. 7. During the rest of the week, a host of exhibits, movies, and presentations will be held at other venues.
For instance, the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History in Little Rock will present a collection of World War II press photographs, and the Jacksonville Museum of Military History just northeast of North Little Rock, will display an exhibit of Norman Rockwell posters based on President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s speech to Congress on Dec. 8, 1941, that prompted a declaration of war.

For a full schedule of events, call (501) 371-8320, or click on


At the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum, visitors can tour the USS Razorback, which played a key role in World War II. Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism


Discover the trials, triumphs of the New Orleans Saints

On All Saints’ Day, Nov. 1, 1966, the National Football League awarded a franchise to New Orleans, La., and over the ensuing 50 years, the city’s beloved Saints football team brought their fans heartbreaking losses and euphoric triumphs.

A new exhibit, “Beyond Sunday: Fifty Years of the New Orleans Saints,” at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum commemorates the franchise’s 50 years, as well as the people who made them happen. It will be on display at the museum in Natchitoches through September 2017.

From the Saints’ early years, the exhibition features pieces of tombstones that were removed from Girod Cemetery in order to build the Superdome complex, as well as turf from Tulane Stadium where the Saints played for their first eight seasons. The exhibit also features uniforms, including a jersey from early Saints quarterback Archie Manning. Though the Saints failed to post a winning record for their first 20 years, things shifted in 1985 when Tom Benson bought the team. From 1987–92, the team qualified for the playoffs four times. When the Saints won the Super Bowl in 2010, it helped signify the city’s recovery from Hurricane Katrina.

The museum is located at 800 Front St. in Natchitoches, and is open 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is $5 for adults and $4 for students, seniors, and active military. Children 12 and under are admitted for free.

Call (318) 357-2492 for more details, or visit


A look at what is now known as the Mercedes-Benz Superdome under construction around 1971. Don Williams


Arkansas’s swan lake captivates nature lovers

The trumpeter swans that landed on Magness Lake in the early 1990s might have been accidental tourists, but these massive birds return each winter and provide a beautiful sight in north-central Arkansas.

Normally residing in the upper Midwest, Canada, Alaska, and some western states, the few swans that first landed in Arkansas are thought to have been blown off course by a storm during migration season. The numbers have increased steadily since then to upwards of 150.

The birds arrive around mid-November and stay until late February. With a wingspan of more than 7 feet, the trumpeter is the largest waterfowl species native to North America.

To view the swans, drive east on Arkansas Highway 110 from its intersection with Arkansas Highway 25 just east of Heber Springs. Travel 3.9 miles from the intersection to Sovereign Grace Baptist Church. Turn left on paved Hays Road and travel about a half mile to the lake.

For more information, visit


Swans landing on the lake. Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism


Harvest fun at Small Town Mississippi

Step back in time as Small Town Mississippi comes to life during the annual Harvest Festival at the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum in Jackson.

The Harvest Festival is spread over two weekends, Nov. 10–12 and Nov. 16–18, with live demonstrations and exhibits available from 9 a.m.–2 p.m. Visitors will glimpse Mississippi’s past, especially its agricultural heritage.

The first weekend will focus more on the museum’s larger mechanized artifacts and areas, such as an antique tractor display, demonstrations at the Small Town Sawmill, and demonstrations at the “oldest operating cotton gin in America,” the Bisland Cotton Gin that dates to 1892.

The following weekend concentrates on man-powered demonstrations throughout Small Town and the Farmstead. Skilled interpreters and craftsmen in period clothing will be at the blacksmith shop, print shop, and the cane mill.

Both weekends will offer free biscuits and syrup. Train, carousel, and hay rides will be available for $1 per rider.

Located at 1150 Lakeland Drive, the museum is open 9 a.m.–5 p.m. from Monday through Saturday. Admission to the festival is $6 for adults and $4 for children 3–18.

Call (601) 432-4500 for details or visit


Small Town Mississippi features a number of restored shops, offices, and homes. Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum


New Iberia celebrates its Spanish roots

The French tend to get all the credit for colonizing Louisiana. But in reality, Spain’s 40 years of governorship played a more significant role in the colony’s prosperity, transforming a sparsely-populated military outpost into a commercial and cultural center.

New Iberia in southwest Louisiana pays homage to Spain in the annual El Festival Español de Nueva Iberia. This year’s festival will be held Nov. 18–20, featuring the “Running of the Bulls” 5K run and one-mile fun walk, a re-enactment of the arrival of the Spanish on Bayou Teche, a paella and tapas cook-off, genealogy displays, and flamenco dancing.

Festival Español was established five years ago to recognize the contributions of Spanish settlers to the region’s culture. It also celebrates the 1779 founding of Nueva Iberia (New Iberia) by Spaniards and creates a cultural exchange of food, music, and art between New Iberia and the Andalusia region of Spain.

This year’s festival theme focuses on Francisco Bouligny, a Spanish official who was charged in 1779 with relocating families from Spain to establish a presence in French Acadiana in which New Iberia is located. The town square is named Bouligny Plaza in his honor, and many of the festival’s events will take place there.

The festival gets underway Friday night with a Spanish Gala, a ticketed event, and Saturday’s events start with the run and walk at 8 a.m.

For more details, call (888) 942-3742, or visit




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