Visitors to New Orleans who have delved into the depths of its complex Creole history, have a new opportunity in 2015 to explore the importance of one of the most critical battles fought on U.S. soil through an eminently readable new book, "Andrew Jackson's Playbook: 15 Strategies for Success." Often discounted by history buffs, the Battle of New Orleans, which was fought only four miles downriver from the historic French Quarter, was in many ways, a second battle for American independence from Great Britain, securing for this nation the immense land acquired through the Louisiana Purchase.
For the 200th anniversary of this significant victory, author Morgan McCall Molthrop, a New Orleans native and tourism consultant, has written a provocative new book wherein he draws parallels between the Gen. Jackson's unorthodox yet winning military tactics and the unconventional solutions that have contributed to New Orleans' post-Katrina recovery. Visitors who believe they already understand the essence of this historic Southern city, will discover new insights into its multifaceted and resilient culture.
By interviewing a wide array of notable local sources, Molthrop juxtaposes events from 1815 with those of 2005, demonstrating guerrilla strategies that achieved improbable victories over the highly trained British army. Success tips are categorized with military terminology, including shoring up defenses, acting with bravado and never forgetting the prize. Readers can reap valuable life lessons along with a fascinating history lesson.
Jackson was a frontier soldier who refused to follow traditional rules of European engagement. The rough-and-ready American general formed alliances with unscrupulous Baratarian pirates, free men of color, Choctaw Indians, Kaintucks and Creoles, each with singular mettle. Similarly, New Orleans' post-Katrina revival brought together a motley coalition of business, government and educational leaders, entertainers, tourism and sports promoters - even a Vodou priestess - to cooperate in an entirely new manner.
Both crises called for decisive action and sidestepping rules. Real estate developer, Pres Kabacoff, for example, saw an urgent demand for loft apartments for returning artists and a Healing Center to create a new social hub. Putting together federal historic tax credits and new market tax credits, he quickly built a nexus.
In 21st century New Orleans, the underlying defense is music - without which the city could perish. So, entertainers Harry Connick, Jr., Branford Marsalis and Habitat for Humanity teamed up to create Musicians Village, providing homes so musicians could get back into the clubs to perform.
After Katrina, the city needed to jumpstart its economy. New Orleans has always been a city of entrepreneurs "because large corporations won't headquarter in a place with a poor school system and an annual summer evacuation," Molthrop wryly commented. But in 2000, New Orleans turned that hardship into an advantage, founding Idea Village, a startup community with a vision to create "a self-sustaining ecosystem that attracts, supports and retrains entrepreneurial talent."
Above all, Jackson had the charisma to unite diverse groups and convince them to follow his leadership, pledging to die before surrendering to the British. The general's team approach solidly defeated the Brit's top-down command structure, slaughtering more than two thousand British troops in less than two hours.
"He'd beaten the army that had beaten Napoleon," Molthrop wrote.
"Jackson's Playbook" was designed not only to reflect on one of the most important battles in U.S. history on its 200th anniversary, comparing its indomitable military leader to modern leaders, but also to help people understand and manage complex issues in their workplaces, neighborhoods and in their daily lives.
For anyone who thinks they know the back-story on the War of 1812, "Jackson's Playbook" provides an entirely new insight into the events and the enduring culture of New Orleans. Offbeat photos and insider perspective on this intriguing city make "Jackson's Playbook" a fascinating read and guide to life.
To schedule an interview or for copies of the book or photographs, contact Marqua Brunette, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Barataria Communications, 850-769-9034, firstname.lastname@example.org
Scheduled Appearances and Signings for January 2015
January 1 - Barnes & Noble, Metairie - 1 p.m.
January 5 - University of Lafayette history classes lectures
January 6 - Jefferson Parish Main Library - 7 p.m.
January 7 - Baton Rouge Library - Brown Bag Lunch series
January 8 - New Orleans Athletic Club - 7 p.m.
January 9 - "Steppin' Out" on WYES-Channel 12
January 11 - Creole Queen Steamboat lecture - 10 a.m.
January 15 - Prytania Theatre book signing
January 21 - New Orleans Country Club, National Society of Colonial Dames - noon