Walking Tour of Historic Gretna
Begin your walking tour at the Gretna Visitor Center housed in a 1906 Freight Depot with attached 1951 Illinois Central Caboose. Learn the city's history and obtain an attractions map. Baseball fans can view a life-sized bronze statue of Mel Ott, a baseball Hall of Famer and Gretna's native son.
Visit City Hall, a 1907 baroque style structure, and view a photo exhibit of Old Gretna and famous Gretna residents. The 2nd floor has been restored to its original splendor.
Pause for a few moments at the Jefferson Memorial Arch. The marker was originally designed as a monument to fallen heroes of WWI and later dedicated to all Jefferson Parish veterans. It contains the names of Confederate, Spanish American War, WWI, and WWII soldiers. Between 10th and 11th streets you will find another marker listing the names of Gretna veterans who died while serving their country in World War II.
Continue on to 5th Street and visit the German-American Cultural Center. This regional museum traces the history of the German immigration into southeast Louisiana in the early 1700's and covers their contributions to the community.
Close by is St. Joseph Catholic Church and Gardens, established in 1857, it is built in the Spanish Baroque style with an imposing bell tower and beautiful, tranquil garden. Interestingly, the Stations of the Cross are fitted into arches over the French doors.
Next visit the Gretna Historical Society Museum with its unique history and displays, like the David Crocket Fire House, the oldest continuous active volunteer fire company in the United States which features an 1876 horse drawn steam pumper. See the blacksmithing demonstrations at the Gretna Green Blacksmith Shop as well as the furnished period Kitty Strele Creole Cottage c.1845. Reception center is in the William D. White House c. 1840.
Walk over the levee and see the newly constructed riverfront amphitheater designed for concerts with seating for 650 and excess crowds 2 to 3 times larger. Witness nature's grandeur, the magnificent Mississippi River, New Orleans skyline, Mississippi River Bridge, and passing ocean-going ships as a back drop to the musical stage. This is also the site of the Gretna Ferry landing, operating daily, connecting Gretna to Canal Street in downtown New Orleans.
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