NEW ORLEANS, LA. - OCTOBER 15-18, 2015
NEW ORLEANS – We had a
good time in NOLA
In one year we will be heading to
Memphis Tn. for
our 25th annual reunion. But now is the time to reminiscence about 2015
in New Orleans. If you were not there, you missed another fine planning
job by VP George. The hotel choice in Kenner, while a distance from
downtown New Orleans, it was located near the airport making it easy
for those flying in. Hotels in NOLA would have cost quite a bit more
per room. His selection of tours and things to do were excellent. The
WWII Museum, a plantation tour, a live dinner show plus the
windshield tour of the city.
Reunion registration began on Thursday
at 3pm in the
hospitality room. Attendees were waiting at the door to get in. After
collecting their packets and clothing orders, then the real purpose of
reunion began; catching up on the past year over some snacks and a beer
(or wine, water, soda), or even more years for those there for the
or may have missed one or more previous reunions.
(The following three photos
are links to websites - select to go)
The first full
day, Friday, there were
tours scheduled. A visit to the WWII
and a visit to one of the
plantations in the area. Both were at the same time. Most shipmates
took the former while most of the quests went to the plantation. Some
of the museum is still being completed (WWI in the Pacific) but the
rest was very interesting and entertaining. A film, narrated by Tom
Hanks, that covered beginning to end was very well done. Near the end
presents the dropping of the bomb on Japan. With the explosion, the
screen and room went black. That was startling to me and many others.
We were there all day, as many were staying for the dinner show.
Plantations were very prevalent on River Rd., half way between New
Orleans and Baton Rouge. Both plantations we visited brought wealth to
the area in the 1800’s raising sugar cane. (Sugar cane is still a $2
billion crop in Louisiana!) There were similarities at both in that
slave labor was a necessity. There is a museum at Oak Alley
discussing slave life and at Laura there are slave cabins open to tour.
was a French Creole Style consisting of 12
on the National Registry. The home was painted yellow, red and green,
typical of the Creole influence. This plantation was in the same family
for 200 years and sold by its last owner, Laura, aged 18, because she
detested the way slaves were treated on the family plantation. She then
moved to St. Louis where she compiled the 200 year old history of her
family, which is shared on the tour. The folk tales of the
Br’er Rabbit were even written in one of the slave cabins.
Restoration is still ongoing here; thus adding to our historical
knowledge of the period.
Oak Valley Plantation
, the Great Dame of the River, is the
typical white columned
plantation home you always picture in your mind. The 300 year
old live oaks that line the entrance to the front door, from which the
Mississippi River could be seen, make Oak Alley the majestic plantation
most often seen in advertisements. This home was richly
furnished with European influence. The size of the rooms
contrasted greatly with Laura, which tended to be smaller and less
A tour of any plantation in
this area should be a priority. It is an example of history
coming to life again, helping future generations to be educated.
After the WWII museum
and plantation tours, we had the opportunity to attend a live dinner
show at the museum. It is high energy, nonstop
entertainment. There was an additional cost for the dinner and show,
but it was well worth it. It is
called "Jump, Jive & Wail" – a 40’s style swing band production
with singing and dancers. It is based on the professional life of Loui
Prima and his band covering the 1930's to the 1950's. Prima was from
New Orleans. Both the dinner and the show were excellent. About 64
attended this part. The plantation attendees that were coming
the show were brought back from the hotel at around 4pm. The dinner
began at 6pm.
On Saturday morning, we boarded the
buses at 8:30
windshield tour of New Orleans. Each bus had a guide on it so there was
a lot of local information and stories. The planned route had to be
modified due to a bike race shutting some of the streets, but it still
worked out. At approximately 10:30, we had a tour of Mardi Gras
World. This is where
they build many of the floats for the 73 different Mardi Gras parades
held each year. Around noon, we were dropped off at Jackson
for lunch on our own with a little shopping. We had until
area, walk up to Bourbon St., tour a museum in the area or just relax
and people watch.
At 2:30, we boarded the buses to head
back to the hotel for our business meeting, and then our
banquet. At the meeting it was decided to go to Harrisburg,
in 2017. Elections were held for secretary and a new president.
After the dinner, we had the regular presentations and 50/50
drawings. Steve was given a framed version of the pen and ink ships
drawing. One added feature was a short talk by Nicholas Spinelli (IS2
IDW - E5). Nick is in the navy reserves and is the son of Michael and
Barbara Spinelli. He talked about todays navy and answered some
questions from the attendees. He also came to dinner in his Dress
Sunday morning,many met again for
breakfast to say our goodbyes until we meet up again in
Memphis in 2016! Be there!
For those who have
never been to New Orleans, you may want to pay a visit on your own. It
is an interesting place and has some of the best creole and Cajun food
anywhere. This web site will help out in any planning.
about a 20 minute ride by taxi down to Jackson Square from our hotel in
and ran about $36 or $15 each if 3 or more are in a taxi. If staying in
New Orleans, bus and trolley fares are very inexpensive for getting