Nov 1, 2023 - Things to Do

Public events for the Medal of Honor Convention in New Orleans

A rendering of a WWII Museum exhibit. In it, three people look up at black and white images displayed on a wall, including a newspaper clipping that reads "Victory."

The National WW II Museum's new Liberation Pavilion will feature exhibits on the Holocaust, the end of the war and the postwar years. Image: Courtesy of The National WWII Museum

The Congressional Medal of Honor Society is in New Orleans this week, hosting its annual convention here for the first time.

Why it matters: The organization brings together Medal of Honor recipients, who are awarded with the nation's highest military award for valor, for a number of events, including several that are open to the public.

  • This year's convention coincides with the opening of The National World War II Museum's final permanent exhibit hall, the Liberation Pavilion.

By the numbers: The Medal of Honor was first awarded in 1863, according to The National WWII Museum, and since then, 3,536 people have been honored with it.

What's happening: The convention began Monday at the museum, and public events continue through Saturday.

  • Among those events is Friday's Patriot Awards Gala.
  • That gala will honor WWII veteran and former WWII Museum Board chair Paul Hilliard, actor Tom Hanks, "Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts and actor Wendell Pierce.
Wendell Pierce, wearing a suit, second-lines with a brass band through the French Quarter.
Wendell Pierce is known for roles in "Jack Ryan," "The Wire," "Suits" and "Treme." Photo: Michael DeMocker/Getty Images

Pierce, a New Orleans native, will receive the Distinguished Citizen Award, thanks to his status as "an indispensable force in the community," according to the society.

  • "Pierce is a fierce advocate for his hometown, helping shed light on the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and leading the nonprofit Pontchartrain Park Community Development Corp, which has become one of the largest affordable, single-family, energy-efficient developments in New Orleans," the society says.

Other convention events open to the public include:

  • A webinar broadcast from museum featuring Medal of Honor recipients for students in grades six to 12 at 11am on Wednesday.
  • The Parade of Patriots, during which Medal of Honor recipients will parade from The National WWII Museum to Mardi Gras World along Convention Center Boulevard at 6pm Wednesday.
  • A block party for families to celebrate Medal of Honor recipients, enjoy live entertainment and see local military displays, on Saturday from 9am to 3pm. Tickets are $10.
  • A free half-day symposium examining the construction of the museum from 8:30am to 12:45pm on Saturday. Attend virtually or in person.

Meanwhile, The National WWII Museum celebrates the Liberation Pavilion's opening Friday in a private event.

  • It marks the completion of the museum, which first opened as The D-Day Museum on June 6, 2000.
  • Since then, the museum has expanded, seeking to tell the full story of America's involvement in that conflict.
  • The Liberation Pavilion "explores the end of the war, the Holocaust, the postwar years and how the war continues to impact our lives today," according to the museum.

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