For the first time in more than a century, the contents of a time capsule revealed Confederate secrets.
The copper box was unearthed from the pedestal that used to carry the statue of Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard in front of City Park.
The statue was removed a year ago, and the pedestal was dismantled last week. Local historians believed the box would be found in the pedestal, but couldn't be certain that the contents had survived.
In fact, water had leaked into the box at some point in the last 104 years, and badly damaged some of the items.
Textile restoration expert Beth Antoine and book restorer Jessica Hack gingerly lifted each item from the copper box. They said they noticed the faint smell of mildew.
Confederate ribbons and what appeared to be a Confederate flag had been warped by the long-gone water, and the pages of a New Orleans city guidebook were stuck together.
But perhaps the most valuable item remained largely intact.
An un-cut sheet of Confederate currency, dated Oct. 10, 1862.
Louisiana State Museum Interim Director Steven Maklansky would not speculate on the monetary value of the items, but Nungesser said he'd been told that some might be worth "hundreds of thousands of dollars."
Nungesser also side-stepped the fact that the time capsule's contents were mostly a tribute to the Confederacy — placed in the box 49 years after the Civil War.
He said the items were a part of history that belong at the Louisiana State Museum, and that's where they'll be on display when they're restored.
But, there was one more surprise, revealed by Nungesser: He said he'd been told that there is another time capsule, yet to be unearthed, in the pedestal where the statue of Jefferson Davis once stood, on Canal Street.