Old Soldiers Home

blake-7879The Confederate Soldiers’ Home at 1700 Moss St. was built for veterans of the Civil War and was named Camp Nicholls to honor local Civil War Brig. Gen. Francis T. Nicholls, who later was a two-term governor of Louisiana.

  In March 1866, shortly after the end of the war, the Louisiana Legislature decided to provide for local veterans, and the result was the Confederate Soldiers’ Home for Louisiana. The original home operated in Mandeville until the Reconstruction government stopped funding it. Reconstruction ended in 1877, but it wasn’t until 1882 that a reorganized board of commissioners purchased land on Bayou St. John to build a residence for the soldiers.

  The new home was dedicated with a ceremony on May 16, 1884. Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson’s wife made a flag of Louisiana with “Camp Nicholls” embroidered on it, and this flag was raised to the top of a 70-foot pole.

  As a special surprise, the Washington Artillery loaned a mounted brass howitzer named “Redemption” for the ceremony and hid it behind a grove of trees. When the canon was fired, folks were startled.

  The property where the soldiers’ home was built measured 325-by-350 feet and had several buildings already on the grounds, but more buildings were added for living quarters. The property also had amenities such as live oak and magnolia trees, a stocked pond for fishing and vegetable gardens. Years later, several old cannons taken from Spanish Fort were placed at the home, and in 1908, a submarine torpedo boat constructed during the Civil War resided at the grounds until it was moved again in 1942.

  Camp Nicholls filled an urgent need for housing among indigent and disabled Civil War veterans, and 25 men became its first residents. By 1901, 117 veterans were living there. During its 60 years of operation, it was home to more than 300 Civil War veterans. After World War II the National Guard established a camp that operated there into the 1970s. Before Hurricane Katrina, the property was occupied by the New Orleans Police Department’s 3rd District, special operations division and EMS.

  All the buildings on the property were razed in 2009. It is the future home of Deutsches Haus, which moved to Metairie after the building it had occupied for 82 years was demolished in 2011 as part of the University Medical Center/VA hospital complex. Deutsches Haus President Keith Oldendorf says his group will begin clearing the property in January 2013. He says plans are to begin construction in the fall and open in 2014.

February 15, 2011

CLICK HERE for Stephanie Bruno’s article about Deutsches Haus at 1700 Moss

Curt Sprang talks with Kerry Tully of Swirl Wines about the Deutsches Haus planned relocation to the property at 1700 Moss Street.

Curt Sprang of ABC 26 News did “man on the street” interviews February 15, 2011 in Faubourg St. John about the possibility of Deutsches Haus relocating to the property at 1700 Moss.

1700 Moss is also the site of the old Confederate Soliders Home.

April 9, 2009 video below by Charlie London. The video shows the demolition of the Old Soldiers Home.

Just outside the fencing around the old Police Station at 1700 Moss Street there is embedded in the grass some blue-and-white lettered tiles which say “SOLDIERS’ HOME.”
‘On this site at 1700 Moss St. there was a Confederate soldiers’ home named “Camp Nicholls” in honor of Gov. Francis T. Nicholls, a Civil War hero.

In March 1866, the Louisiana Legislature established a Confederate Soldiers’ Home for Louisiana. The home operated at Mandeville until 1868 when the Reconstruction government halted the appropriation. Then under an 1882 amendment of the 1866 Act, a reorganized Board of Commissioners bought the tract of land on Bayou St. John for the purpose of building a soldiers’ home.

The new home was dedicated with great ceremony on May 16, 1884. Mrs. T.J. (Stonewall) Jackson had herself made a flag of Louisiana, and this flag was raised to the top of a 70-foot flagpole by her daughter, Miss Julia Jackson; the daughters of Gen. Robert E. Lee, Mildred and Mary; Gen. D. H. Hill’s daughter, Nanny; and Mary May, daughter of Col. A.H. May, veteran officer of the Washington Artillery. The large brass howitzer “Redemption” of the Washington Artillery fired a salute of 13 rounds.

The camp was home for many years to Confederate veterans, and on the grounds a visitor could see several old cannons taken from Spanish Fort and a submarine torpedo boat constructed during the Civil War.

Then in 1949, it became the State Headquarters for the 39th Infantry Division of the National Guard; and in April 1951, a new $120,000 armory was constructed, and the site became the home of the 135th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron of the Louisiana Air National Guard.

After a period of vacancy, the building was renovated in 1983, and the Police Department took up residence.’…

“Camp Nicholls, 1700 Moss Street, is a Confederate soldiers’ home established in 1883 during the Administration of Governor Nicholls. Only a few veterans remain in the institution. On the grounds may be seen several old cannon taken from Spanish Fort and a submarine torpedo boat, said to be the first of its kind, constructed by a Captain Hunley during the Civil War. The boat sank in the bayou on its first trial, and lay submerged many years before being salvaged.”

The New Orleans City Guide, 1938 Federal Writers Project, WPA

Photo by Jim Danner

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Charlie London
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