Museum

Learn About German History

Due to Damage From Hurricane Ida
The Museum is Currently Closed.

Visit Our Museum

Gretna's German
Founders

Step inside the GACC Museum and go back in time to 1721, when German immigrants first settled in Louisiana. You’ll learn about the waves of German pioneers that followed them to establish homes, farms and businesses across the river from New Orleans. Entry is  free of charge  to our museum, the only one of its kind in Louisiana, established in 1999 with assistance from the National Park Service, political leaders and local families.

Gretna's Roots

German Family's Start

find your family roots

Exhibits, Videos & More

Gretna: City With
A German Legacy

Your visit to the GACC Museum begins with the timeline and history of German immigration to Louisiana. Exhibits and vintage photographs show the cultural institutions they established, from singing societies to festivals, and from schools to churches.  A video presentation gives a view of Gretna’s families and history, while another video discusses the impact of the world wars on German-Americans. We also pay homage to Gretna’s outstanding citizens, including baseball great Mel Ott.

A special exhibit of vintage photographs is also on view, showing the families, events and businesses in early Gretna and its sister community, McDonoghville, which was merged into Gretna in 1913. We also have several special collections of artifacts – colorful, historic German steins, and vintage dolls made in Germany and typical German costumes worn at festivals.

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German Contributions to Gretna

A special exhibit of vintage photographs is also on view, showing the families, events and businesses in early Gretna and its sister community, McDonoghville, which was merged into Gretna in 1913. We also have several special collections of artifacts – colorful, historic German steins, and vintage dolls made in Germany and typical German costumes worn at festivals.

Story Behind The Photo

David Crockett Volunteer Fire Company

Gretna’s David Crockett Volunteer Fire Company members proudly pose in front of their headquarters on Lafayette Street in 1937. Standing out front is young David Crockett Leaber, a lad whose family had German ancestry. His father was chauffeur for the active company, established in 1841 and the oldest continuously volunteer fire company in the United States. The story goes that David was just a baby when the company met and had a tie vote on some measure. The baby was made a member of Crockett so that his dad could cast a vote for him. Thereafter David was part of the company and had uniforms to match the firefighters.

Young David Crockett Leaber

Established in 1841

The oldest continuously volunteer fire company in the USA.
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First St. Joseph Catholic Church

EPSON MFP image
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Story Behind The Photo

1891: Water Crisis in Gretna

In its early years before there were significant levees along the Mississippi River, flooding was often a problem. And that was the case in March of 1891. The story goes that a farmer in Amesville, well behind Gretna and near Marrereo, stuck a pipe through the levee to get water for his crops. Unfortunately, it was high water time for the river, when it is most turbulent. Before long, a break or crevasse in the levee opened and flood waters started pouring through.

By mid June, the crevasse was more than 1,000 feet wide. The flooding made its way to Algiers and Gretna, reaching the tops of porches and causing citizens to use boats to get around. It even drew onlookers from New Orleans, who traveled in steamboats for Sunday excursions to the breach.

Eventually it took 200 workers to build a bulwark behind the gap and seal the break. The water crisis even made the pages of the New York Times. Louis Pfister of the Orleans Levee Board gave this report in the Times-Picayune in May 1891 on the difficult repair of the Ames Crevasse: “More than once did we think that our labor would prove fruitless, and to think of the undertaking now, (when we look back), it would seem impossible to build a levee in a swamp out of earth soaked with water and liable to crumble at any moment.”