So the other day, I sent a text of this picture out to a rather well-known firearms enthusiast.
Yeah, I knew he'd recognize it. Sadly I did too when I saw it in among a few hundred other firearms this past week. It's a custom-built US Service Pistol Team 1911 in .45, and alas, it's one of the 450-odd small arms in the museum at Jackson Barracks, New Orleans, Louisiana that were caught by the floodwaters following Hurricane Katrina.
Of the 200+ buildings on post when the water came, only about thirty did not have to be rebuilt from scratch. Parts of the post were under 20 feet of water and this water contained sewage and just about every chemical you could imagine in a flooded industrial community.
Like the rest of the collection, this pistol spent about two and a half months submerged in the toxic sludge before it was dried off and roughly stabilized by the curatorial teams, however they all look like this one now--or worse--with finish wear, pitting, ruined stocks, etc. Historic military arms from the 19th century on upwards, including almost a dozen Thompson sub-machine guns, BARs, Springfields, Krags, Reisings, Colts of every flavor, and numerous foreign guns too. (I noticed a beautiful German MP40 that didn't look like it got wet at all...at least on the side I could see.)
The reason I got to see them was because I'd gone in and spoke to the staff about possibly donating some of my collection to replace the ones that they lost due to the flooding. One thing led to another and now it looks like I'll get the chance to volunteer to help fix and preserve some of these guns starting in January. It's a big job that really is just getting started and they need the help. Since I've owned or worked on much of what they have, why not?
And as thought, if any of you do have any period US Military arms that you'd like to see preserved in their brand new public museum and it's soon-to-be awesome "Wall of Weapons" display, please contact me and I can assist with the donation and proper credit to you. Some of mine will surely be going in there and I can't think of a better place for them to be displayed forever.