Pelican State

The Pelican State Goes to War

Louisiana in World War II

July 21, 2017 – April 29, 2018
The Joe W. and Dorothy D. Brown Foundation Special Exhibit Gallery

On December 8, 1941, just one day after the Pearl Harbor attacks, the United States officially entered World War II—Louisiana, however, was already front and center in the country’s defense preparations. From 1940 to 1945, Louisiana hosted the largest maneuvers in US military history, witnessed massive changes to its industrial base, and saw its citizens become enthusiastic contributors to what President Franklin Delano Roosevelt deemed “The Arsenal of Democracy.” The war afforded new, previously unimaginable opportunities to Louisiana’s residents. Through it all, these wartime experiences in the Pelican State laid the groundwork for sweeping economic changes in the new, postwar world that emerged from the 20th century’s greatest struggle.

Presented by The Alta and John Franks Foundation.


Special Exhibit Programming

Throughout the exhibit's run, we will be holding public programming focused on Louisiana's role in World War II.

Learn More

Film produced by Atherton Pictures, LLC

Oral History Highlights


Delano Brister

Delano Brister was born December 14, 1933, in Sieper, Louisiana. He was just eight years old when the Louisiana Maneuvers took place in central Louisiana during the summer of 1941.

Oral History produced by Atherton Pictures, LLC

Henry Bourgeois

Henry “Doc Boo” Bourgeois flew the F4U Corsair in VMF-214, the “Black Sheep” under the command of Greg Boyington in the South Pacific.

Oral History produced by Atherton Pictures, LLC