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2018 Mini-Reunion - New Orleans, LA

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Las Vegas Lite

Lyman K. Swenson (DD-729) Mini-reunion in New Orleans for Mardi Gras 2018

Five Swenson Shipmates met in New Orleans for the 43rd annual KREWE of Ponchartrain Mardi Gras February 1 – 4, 2018. The Mini-reunion was hosted by Georgeanne and Jim Falstrom and was it a HOOT! Other members included Loren Lew from Los Angeles, CA, Claire and Ben Maguire from Clermont, FL, Pam and Joe Rank from Urbana, IL., and Lolita, Donald Jr., and Don Snider from Portland, TN.

The Maguires departed Clermont January 30th and stopped in the Florida Pan-handle that evening arriving at the Ormond Plantation Resort the next day. The Falstroms left Irving, Texas and stopped in Baton Rouge that evening. The Sniders departed Portland and stopped in Slidell. The morning of the 31st was the Lunar Eclipse and was viewed by the Ranks at the Chicago airport and the Sniders in Slidell. The Falstroms viewed it from their motel in Baton Rouge. The Maguires and Loren were presumably still sound asleep at 0640 during the eclipse.

All arrived at the Plantation that afternoon and “sampled” some Texas and Tennessee fine wines. The Plantation Resort was built in 1778 and is located on the banks of the Mississippi river. A lovely place that goes back more than 200 years. It does have ghosts - just ask Donald Jr. about his experiences.

Thursday, we headed to downtown NOLA and had lunch at the Court of Two Sisters. The Champagne and Bloody Mary’s were plentiful. Thursday evening all-hands attended the Krewe of Ponchartrain Coronation Ball in evening gowns and Tuxedo’s. There was dinner and dancing until 2300 then back to the Plantation for more Sea-stories.

Friday, we had lunch at Galatoires on Bourbon Street. Great Southern food with plenty of Bloody Mary’s with the hot green beans. After lunch we marched behind the Air Force ( ok, students) Marching band for eight blocks to The Tropical Isle Saloon where we tossed beads to the tourists from the balcony for several hours. Back to the Plantation with a Gourmet dinner that evening.

Saturday was the big day for riding the float in the parade through part of NOLA. Donald Jr, was so tried he had the sit down, but his somewhat older father continued throwing beads until the rainy end of the parade.

At the start of the parade the driver of our float had a “hair-pin trigger” foot on the tractor clutch tossing Pam to the floor in-spite-of her safety line. The driver did improve a few minutes into the parade. I won’t describe the bucket we all shared for disposal of Bloody Mary and coffee drinks during the 4-hour parade.

We rode on one of 15 floats in the Krewe of Ponchartrain Mardi Gras parade. The theme of the floats was “movies made in New Orleans.” Our float theme was “Dead Man Walking” the Susan Sarandon movie about a nun who ministers to men on Death Row which explains the bizarre costumes we all wore. Our parade was cut in half because we all got drenched in a down pour. At the end of the parade we had a few hours at the Ugly Dog Saloon for more Bloody Mary’s with hot green beans. Gregg Smoyer will post pictures on the Swenson web-site.

Sunday morning, we had another Gourmet breakfast and said our goodbyes and had hugs until October 4th in Norfolk, VA. We all hope to see you there too.

Lessons learned: (1) Get up early to see the Lunar Eclipse. (2) don’t complain about our annual reunion semi-formal dress  code. (3) Don’t complain about our reunion room rates until you stay at the Plantation. $$$$$$ (4) Always be prepared for a tractor driver with a “hair-pin trigger” clutch foot. (5) Enjoy life to the fullest.

Don Snider


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