Jackson Barracks

Jackson Barracks was established as a result of the Federal Fortifications Act, which was crafted in response to the War of 1812. Congress realized the lack of defense for coastal cities such as New Orleans.

First known as the "New Orleans Barracks," it was built in a quadrangle design, intended to be a rallying point for troops in the event of an attack. Buildings were constructed to serve as part of the fortification, with the backs having no outward facing windows. The structures were joined by a 10 foot brick outer wall that completed the fort.

Jackson Barracks first saw use during the Mexican-American War, which also caused the necessity of the nation's first Public Service Hospital for Veterans. The Barracks site cared for injured soldiers returning from Mexico.

The title "New Orleans Barracks" lasted from 1837 to July 7, 1866, when it was renamed "Jackson Barracks" to honor Battle of New Orleans hero General Andrew Jackson. General Sheridan was charged that same year with creating the first African-American cavalry regiment in peace time. Two of the four units that came to be known as the "Buffalo Soldiers" originated in New Orleans. One of these four divisions, the 25th Infantry Regiment, formed at Jackson Barracks in 1869. Their participation in the Indian wars and the Spanish-American War led to their being known as the "Buffalo Soldiers."

The federal government retained control until the end of WWI, when it gave the complex to the state of Louisiana. Originally an infantry post, its focus changed to a cavalry and artillery post. After WWI, when ownership transferred to the LA National Guard, it was made headquarters to the Washington Artillery and remains so. The Washington Artillery (technically the "141st Field Artillery Regiment") is the oldest continuous unit in the Louisiana National Guard and one of the oldest in the nation. It has been located in New Orleans since 1838.

During the Great Depression, state and federal funds (WPA, Works Progress Administration), put the Barracks through an extensive renovation project. During WWII, the federal government regained control, using the barracks as a port of embarkation. Following the war, control returned to the State, which uses it as the headquarters for the Louisiana National Guard.

In August 2005, the entire Jackson Barracks post was nearly destroyed by the flood waters of Hurricane Katrina. Breaches in the Industrial Canal Levee were largely responsible for submerging the site in as much as 20 feet of water. The majority of the post was re-built from scratch, at a total cost of $325 million. 17,500 square feet of buildings were constructed to original design, using original materials when possible.

Images

Jackson Barracks 1920's

Jackson Barracks 1920's

Originally built as an old Plantation House, now rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina as Officers' Quarters. Courtesy of Louisiana Division/City Archives, New Orleans Public Library View File Details Page

Jackson Barracks, circa 1910s

Jackson Barracks, circa 1910s

The surrounding fence of the Barracks, as seen from what is St. Claude Avenue today. Courtesy of Louisiana Division/City Archives, New Orleans Public Library View File Details Page

Reviewing the Troops. February 16, 1920

Reviewing the Troops. February 16, 1920

General Pershing reviewing the troops. Image Courtesy of Library of Congress View File Details Page

39th Division Artillery Training, 1950

39th Division Artillery Training, 1950

During their annual training, soldiers of the 39th Division conduct Survey Training. Image Courtesy of The 39th Infantry Division 1950 / Louisiana National Guard, Office of the Adjutant General, 1950 View File Details Page

Jackson Barracks, January 20, 1937

Jackson Barracks, January 20, 1937

Interior view of the Administration Building Courtesy of Louisiana Division/City Archives, New Orleans Public Library View File Details Page

Old Powder House, May 30, 1941

Old Powder House, May 30, 1941

The powder house was in horrible disrepair before being rennovated by WPA workers. Image Courtesy of WPA, Louisiana Division/City Archives, New Orleans Public Library View File Details Page

circa early 1900s

circa early 1900s

Guard towers at the main gate. Courtesy of Louisiana Division/City Archives, New Orleans Public Library View File Details Page

Entrance to Jackson Barracks, January 27, 1940

Entrance to Jackson Barracks, January 27, 1940

Courtesy of WPA, Louisiana Division/City Archives, New Orleans Public Library View File Details Page

Damage being assessed several weeks following the post-Katrina flooding, October 12, 2005

Damage being assessed several weeks following the post-Katrina flooding, October 12, 2005

184 of the post's 200 buildings were damaged following the hurricane.. Courtesy of FEMA photo library, Marvin Nauman View File Details Page

President Bush, August 20, 2008

President Bush, August 20, 2008

President George W. Bush tours the facility as its extensive rebuilding efforts are underway Courtesy of White House, Eric Draper View File Details Page

President Bush speaks at Jackson Barracks

President Bush speaks at Jackson Barracks

As reported by the White House: "President George W. Bush addresses his remarks Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2008, on the recovery of the Gulf Coast region three years after Hurricane Katrina. President Bush said, 'I think the message here today is hope is being restored. Hope is coming back.' " Courtesy of White House, Eric Draper, photographer View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Louisiana Division/City Archives, New Orleans Public Library, “Jackson Barracks,” New Orleans Historical, accessed July 26, 2017, http://neworleanshistorical.org/items/show/267.

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