Kicking off a weekend of tricentennial events, New Orleans welcomed unusual guests to her shores Thursday - six historic sailing ships.
Elissa, the oldest and largest of the six ships, was built in Scotland in 1877 and is twice as long as a blue whale. The Picton Castle was part of the Royal Navy in World War II.
Glynis Eugene brought her daughter to see them, “They’re not the biggest of the biggest boats, but to me they were HUGE. And the sails was beautiful,” she says.
As the city turns 300, the visiting ships offer a chance to reflect on our history. Daniel D. Moreland, a captain on the Picton Castle, says ships like these established the city as a major center of trade. “It didn’t happen under steamships and trucks and jet airplanes, it happened long before them,” says Picton. “These type of ships are part and parcel of the growth and development identity of New Orleans as we celebrate it today. In fact, it couldn’t have happened without them.”
It wasn’t just supplies that came by ship. In 1785, exiled Acadians were brought here by boat, and slave traders notoriously used large sailing ships to transport human cargo to New Orleans from across the Atlantic.
The ships are open to the public from 12pm to 5pm on Friday and Saturday and from 10am to 5pm Sunday.