SS Leonidas Polk launched by special guests
On January 7, 1943, it was a big day for Delta Shipbuilding Co. They launched the Liberty Ship, SS Leonidas Polk and received the Maritime Commission’s “M” pennant for outstanding achievement in production.
The National WWII Museum holds a unique item related to this event—the scrapbook of a six year old boy, Billy Michal. Billy and two other rural Louisiana schoolchildren were chosen to attend the launch in New Orleans as representatives of the winning schools in a statewide per-capita school scrap contest sponsored by the local newspaper. The children were all selected for the trip by their classmates. Billy’s entire one-room schoolhouse in Zimmerman, Louisiana numbered twelve children in all. The three children chosen for the trip, all traveling to New Orleans for the first time, were treated to an “inspection tour” of the city in a jeep, which included a stop at the Audubon Zoo and a luncheon at the Delta plant where they were shown how Liberty ships were constructed. Billy’s mother assembled mementos from this trip in a scrapbook, donated to the Museum by Mr. Michal in 2002.
All images: Gift of Dr. Billy Michal, 2002.479
Post by Curator Kimberly Guise.