Maritime Museum director to address de Soto expedition
Contact: Rene Abadie
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HAMMOND -- The newly appointed executive director of the Lake Pontchartrain Maritime Museum will present a public presentation examining the Louisiana-Florida expedition of Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 10 at the museum.
Jay Martin, who was appointed to the post in May and who also teaches in Southeastern Louisiana University’s public history concentration, will discuss “Fight or Flight: The Louisiana-Florida Expedition of Hernando de Soto, 1539-1543.” The museum will be open free to the public beginning at 4 p.m. that day.
Martin explained that the conquistador de Soto landed in Florida in 1539 with an army of 700 men searching for riches in North America. In a four-year odyssey that covered what is now 10 southeastern states – and which ultimately cost de Soto his life – the army fled down the Mississippi River through Louisiana while being closely pursued by Native American tribes bent on revenge.
The National Park Service is considering the development of a national trail that commemorates the route of the expedition and the story of the Native Americans encounters with the Spanish army. Martin, who served as lead ranger at De Soto National Memorial in Bradenton, Fla., for three years, was involved in developing the first leg of the trail in Florida.
For more information, contact the museum at 985-845-9200.