BATON ROUGE - The USS Kidd museum celebrated the ship's 30th anniversary as a World War II memorial in Baton Rouge today.

Louisiana congressman William Henson Moore selected the Kidd to serve as a memorial for Louisiana World War II veterans. The ship was towed from Philadelphia and arrived in Baton Rouge on May 23, 1982.

Tracy Lewis, Jr. has been the ship's painter since that day.

"She was in tough shape. She looked like she was ready for the bottom. I thought we were just going to waste a lot of time and money and she wasn't going to make it. But she took the test and made it through," Lewis, Jr., said.

Tim Nessmith is the Kidd's superintendent, charged with making sure everything is in working and as authentic to the ship's original state as possible.

"I had to learn it from the veterans who used to do it, so I had to learn it from the guy who used to do it himself on here," Nessmith said of the rope work on the deck of the USS Kidd, which he is currently replacing.

The crew says it's worth it for them, to get the chance to pass along their knowledge.

"Kids can actually come through and touch and feel and pick up and lift, and actually realize their grandfathers and dads were a part of this," said Lewis, Jr.

Image: WBRZ