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Feb 22nd
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Home Things to Do Festivals New Orleans To Launch War of 1812 Bicentennial Celebrations

New Orleans To Launch War of 1812 Bicentennial Celebrations

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New Orleans will serve as the inaugural city in a three-year national celebration commemorating the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 and the Star-Spangled Banner.

The 2012 celebration will take place April 17 - 23, 2012, featuring a colorful spectacle of ships spreading on the East Bank of the Mississippi River from Erato Street to Upper Poland Avenue.

uscg_eagleAs part of the observations, the NOLA Navy Week Host Committee and Operation Sail, Inc. have confirmed the first tall ships coming to New Orleans April 17 - 23. The historic U.S. Coast Guard barque Eagle will join the Guayas of Ecuador and the Gloria of Colombia in New Orleans at Woldenberg Park.

Additionally, the Navy's famed Blue Angels will perform a memorable air show as part of the week's festivities.

"Being the inaugural city to kick off a three-year nationwide celebration speaks to the greatness of our city," said New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. "We will set the bar high for all cities by demonstrating our experience in entertainment on a massive level."

The U.S. Navy's amphibious warship USS Wasp, along with other large navy vessels, will welcome Class A tall ships from countries around the world to New Orleans, joining the U.S. Navy and OpSail 2012 for the celebration. The theme, "Our Flag Was Still There," will mark the festivities in seven ports and across the country.

In each of the port cities, beginning with New Orleans, ships will be open for public visiting, and citizens will have the opportunity to interact with sailors from around the world.

In addition to the Navy fleet and tall ships lining the Port, and the Blue Angels air show, activities will include official visits among regional dignitaries and Navy leadership, visiting sailors engaged in friendly sporting competitions, a seafood cook-off, and regional outreach and community service projects by visiting sailors.

"From 2012 to 2015, the United States Navy and its partners, including Operation Sail, Inc., will commemorate the War of 1812 and the writing of our national anthem, the Star- Spangled banner," U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said.

Built at the Blohm and Voss Shipyard in Hamburg, Germany in 1936, and commissioned as Horst Wessel, the Eagle was one of three sail-training ships operated by the pre-World War II German Navy.

At the close of the war, the ship was taken as a war reparation by the U.S., re-commissioned as the U.S. Coast Guard barque Eagle and sailed to New London, Connecticut, which has been its homeport ever since.

"Bringing the tall ships of the world back to U.S. waters for the commemoration of this glorious American milestone excites the imagination," said chairman of Operation Sail, Inc., Jose Fuentes. "Throughout 2012-2015, millions of people will witness these graceful and majestic sailing ships as they parade in together, and celebrate brotherhood of the sea, and of our freedoms."

For more information about New Orleans Navy Week, and the schedule of events, visit the Web site at
http://nolanavyweek.com for details. For information about the bicentennial celebration, visit the Web sites www.visit1812.com and www.ourflagwasstillthere.org for details.

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