Civil War-era Submarine
The history of the museum's submarine can be traced to 1878 when it was removed from Lake Pontchartrain and placed on the levee by a dredge crew working near the mouth of Bayou St. John. For years after its recovery, the boat lay neglected on the lakeshore. By 1895, it was placed on display at Spanish Fort where it became a prominent landmark. A period of neglect followed, during which the submarine was taken from its wooden stand at the Fort and left lying in the weeds. A remaining propeller blade was removed by vandals and large areas of loss appeared along the lower hull. Later, in 1908, it was moved to the Camp Nicholls Confederate Home on Bayou St. John. In 1942, it was acquired by the State Museum and moved to Jackson Square. Some years later the museum transferred it into the lower Pontalba Building, where it was featured in a "Defense Exhibit." It was eventually moved under the Presbytere arcade in 1957 before being transferred to the conservatory in December of 1999.
Louisiana State Museum submarine on bank of Bayou St. John at Spanish Fort, c. 1900.