Segment 6


Walter Barnes did not see much of a change in New Orleans when he returned after the war. Before the war he and his family lived in a working class neighborhood. The members of his household owned five cars. Some of the neighbors did not own any cars. Barnes now lives in Metairie and feels that the city has really changed since the days when he lived there. After returning from the war Barnes had no trouble talking about his experiences except with his mother. She did not want to hear about it. He did have two close friends in the neighborhood who had been lieutenants. Barnes did not know how to handle them. He did not know if he should throw a rock at them or salute them. Barnes was a staff sergeant when he was discharged. During basic training he was recommended for officers training but he declined it. In Italy Barnes was in charge of an enlisted men’s beer parlor. Barnes did not feel that there was any difference in dealing with German and Italian prisoners of war. They very rarely saw Italian prisoners. Whenever Barnes and his unit set up a rest camp the Italian children would come beg for food and coffee. Some of the GIs were nice to them and some were not. Barnes learned judo before he went into the service. Whenever Barnes got in a fight in basic training he would use his judo. Word got around and most people left him alone. By using judo Barnes was able to keep his nose in good shape because it kept him out of fist fights. Most people left Barnes alone because they knew that he knew judo and that he wrote letters for the soldiers who could not read or write.


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