Saving the U.S.S. Kidd: Staff hopeful for museum's future
BATON ROUGE, LA (FOX44) — It's been a tough year for the staff at U.S.S. Kidd, but this week they got some good news. NCIS New Orleans is coming to the Kidd, and that means more money for the museum.
The Executive Director Alex Juan did not disclose how much money they would get from renting out the Kidd, but she said, it is enough to help them get back on track.
You see it when you cross over the Mississippi River Bridge, the more than 70-year-old ship is a staple of Baton Rouge. Now, it will be the set for a TV show.
"We were so excited when they called. I mean it's NCIS. Who doesn't love NCIS?," Juan said. "This is a national historic site, the World War II Destroyer. It's a great fit for us. So yeah, we were thrilled."
Juan has worked tirelessly to get the money to keep this ship from sinking, but now, an unexpected surprise has given her hope.
"I was saying that there was nothing in my budget that could create some type of safety net, and this is it," Juan explained.
Juan said the location manager of the new NCIS New Orleans called her to see if the crew could rent out the museum and the ship. She said it happened so fast, but just in time.
"Even though last week, I was being very honest and very transparent with them," Juan said. "I was saying look this is what we all could see coming down the line, myself included."
This year has not been easy for the staff of the U.S.S. Kidd, but thanks to NCIS and the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, this next year won't be so tough.
"We're all in this together, and then we managed to get not just NCIS, but a significant grant from our foundation," Juan said "So it worked out beautifully."
Volunteers and visitors couldn't be more excited.
"Oh fantastic! I saw the pilot and when I found out they're coming here. I thought, what better ship to do it!," exclaimed Sylvester Mason, a volunteer at the Kidd.
"Oh, I think that would be great. It would be great for the ship. It will be more people over here to see the ship to see what it's all about," said Tami Cochran, a visitor.
"It still feels like one team, one fight. We're all in this together," Juan said. "We all know what direction we headed in, and we know that we're going to get there."
Because of the filming, the U.S.S. Kidd will be closed next week, Monday through Friday.