Posts Tagged ‘American Sector’
They are the living connection to the war experience. For the National WWII Museum and its visitors, the WWII veterans who volunteer their time, sharing memories and insights, are golden.
But those who can still donate their time are dwindling in number as their celebrated generation gradually fades from the scene. Only one of every 16 Americans who served is still living.
“These people bring it to life,” said William Detweiler, the Museum’s consultant for military affairs. “They don’t brag about what they did. They’re the connection – their stories.”
The Museum still has 31 WWII veteran volunteers on its rolls, down from a high of roughly 100 soon after the institution opened in 2000. A good representation – 16 from the beloved 31 – came to the American Sector on Wednesday, December 4, to enjoy a tribute lunch with President & CEO Nick Mueller and others. (Two of our most well known veteran volunteers, Bert Stolier and Tom Blakey, were away at a Rotary Club speaking engagement.)
The luncheon crowd had a rousing good time. Then the elderly volunteers proudly lined up for a picture – and nearly brought the restaurant to a standstill, as onlookers grabbed cameras. One of them so moved, American Sector bartender Billy Vincent, said later, “The time to honor them is short.”
Standing in front of a George Rodrigue painting of two World War II icons, Dwight D. Eisenhower and New Orleans boat-builder Andrew Higgins, were, back row, left to right: Andrew Konnerth, Jimmy Dubuisson, Dutch Prager, Gene Geisert, Ross Gamble, Bob Wolf, Tommy Godchaux, Dan Cantor and Jimmy Fried. Those seated, left to right, were: C. Johnny Difatta, Lloyd Campo, Bill Cassady, John Rogers, Bowdre Mc Dowell, John Capretto and Jerry Gervais.
The Museum salutes these special volunteers and all they represent!
Visitors to The National WWII Museum expect to see artifacts and exhibits, but they are often surprised to find a very delicious history lesson where they least expect it – in the Museum’s American Sector Restaurant and on-site Soda Shop. Both venues harken back to the war years with decor and atmosphere, but often the food is part of the history too. Award-winning Chef John Besh and Executive Chef Jeffrey Mattia find their inspiration in the staples of American food and the influences the war had on bringing global cuisine back to America with the returning troops.
Recently Mattia was named a finalist in the Gambit Weekly Emerging Chefs Challenge. He will compete with 11 other rising stars in the culinary world for the title on August 28, 2013, and we will be there cheering him on!
You can sample the Chef’s work daily at the American Sector (11 am-9 pm) and the Soda Shop (7 am-5:30 pm) or as part of our monthly Dinner with a Curator Series, pairing presentations by Museum staff on a wide array of topics related to WWII with a specially “curated” three-course meal.
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Eric Rivet presents “Star Wars: WWII in a Galaxy Far, Far Away,” 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Although the Star Wars movies present a futuristic galaxy of space combat and laser guns, nearly all of the weapons and many of the props used in the original trilogy are World War I and World War II firearms and field equipment. The National WWII Museum has examples of most of these weapons in its collection, including the types of guns carried by Han Solo and Boba Fett and the lightsaber used by Luke Skywalker. Join Curator Eric Rivet for a discussion of the weapons and equipment used in the Star Wars films and see them for yourself.
Purchase tickets for Dinner with a Curator.
About Chef Jeffrey Mattia
Jeff Mattia is the Executive Chef at American Sector, the John Besh restaurant in The National WWII Museum. Growing up in Connecticut, his passion for cooking started at a young age when he would accompany his grandfather on fishing trips on Long Island Sound. Following high school, Jeff joined the United States Marine Corps, during which he had the opportunity to travel the Mediterranean region and learn about their cuisine. Following his service, Jeff returned to the United States and enrolled in Johnson & Wales University to complete their culinary arts degree program. After graduating, he worked at several prestigious restaurants in the Northeast, before moving to New Orleans with his family in 2010, where he had taken a position at Restaurant August as executive sous chef. Jeff became the sous chef at American Sector in the summer of 2011, and was named executive chef in 2012.
The July 12, 2013, Times-Picayune featured a story on an “exhibit” that many guests might miss on their visit to the Museum. Nestled among the bottles of liquor behind the bar at the Museum restaurant, the American Sector, are a collections of bottles and containers that have a very real and tangible link to history. Curated by bartender, Billy Vincent, the sand comes from Iwo Jima, Omaha Beach and the sites of 18 other D-Days. If was collected by visitors, Museum volunteers, staff, restaurant patrons and anyone who has heard about the collection and it is growing all the time. “There were 121 Pacific invasion sites,” Vincent said, ‘but I’m really looking for sand from the North Africa and Italy campaigns.”
Read the full article and see more photos of the collection.
Billy Vincent has been with the Museum since 2009. He is a proud veteran of the US Marine Corps.