2017 New Orleans, LA Reunion Recap
2011 Charleston, SC Reunion Recap
The 12th Biennial Reunion held in New Orleans, LA is now behind us.
2017 New Orleans Reunion Recap by Dave Reasons
To each of you that attended the reunion, Debra and I want to “Thank You” from the bottom of our hearts for not only your attending the first reunion we’ve planned, but bearing with us as we ironed out the rough spots that came up. We realize that everything wasn’t 100% satisfactory, but in the future, we’ll do our utmost to ensure things go more smoothly for everyone.
I would like to personally thank the folks that helped me with the background details while I tried to be in five places at once. I couldn’t have made it without my wife, Debra’s able assistance in doing a lot of the detail paperwork and keeping up with all the bits and pieces we needed.
Also, a big SHOUT OUT goes to Carl and Beverly Sorensen, Joe & Nelda Hackett, Emily Polasiek, President Craig Horton, and Chaplain Jim Mauk for all their assistance and putting up with my redundant questions.
As to the Hotel we chose, overall, they did a fairly good job, our contact there tried his best to fill all our needs, but some were just beyond even his control.
I also want to give recognition to our Hospitality Team that worked the bar during the reunion. Tom Rock, Charles & Tracy Scott, and Warren Doyle. Additionally, a big “Thank You” goes to Warren for bringing and setting up the memorabilia tables. Eugene D’Arezzo once again had the always popular English Bay cookies shipped in and they were enjoyed by all.
The reunion was attended by a total of one hundred twenty (120) people. Out of the 120 people that attended 47 were shipmates.
The reunion kicked off on Sunday, July 16th, with registration beginning at 9:00 am. The hospitality room was up and running shortly after we started registering shipmates and guests, so the party soon began.
On Monday morning, we had our general meeting and elections. The slate of officers and directors remains the same as before except for a new Sergeant at Arms. Dan Geren was nominated for Sergeant at Arms and he was elected by acclimation.
After our general meeting adjourned, everyone scattered and went to see the sights in New Orleans. We did have a contingent stick around to enjoy the day in the hospitality room where we had a photo booth setup. And, I can tell you there were lots of funny pictures taken and fun was had by all who tried it. Who knows, some of those funny pictures may even make the reunion photo book. LOL
Later Monday evening, we had a “Wine & Cheese’ reception to welcome everyone to Boomtown.
Tuesday morning, we loaded onto the buses for the Jazz Brunch Cruise aboard the Natchez Steam Powered Paddle Wheeler boat. We had reserved seats for the 11:00 am meal, which meant we went to the chow hall just as soon as we boarded. The meal was buffet style and everyone I talked with thought it was quite good.
After we ate we went back out on the deck and grabbed chairs and enjoyed the ride down the Mississippi River for several miles. The Natchez then came about and headed back upstream and we got to see all the places on the other river bank. Lots of history along the muddy Missisip in that area. When docked at the wharf again, several of the crew decided to strike out on their own and explore the French Quarter, the remainder of us headed back to Boomtown.
On Wednesday, we again boarded the motor coaches and headed to downtown New Orleans to visit the WWII Museum. After some initial confusion on getting the wrist bands for everyone we headed over to the Solomon Victory Theater, were everyone saw, heard and felt the epic story of World War II in the exclusive 4-D (Yes that is 4-D, not 3-D) experience “Beyond All Boundaries,” which was narrated by Tom Hanks. I spoke with numerous people after the movie and everyone thought the experience was breathtaking. Right after exiting the theater, lunch was served in an area reserved for our group. The American Sector catered a Higgins Box lunch for everyone. We all thought the box lunches had generous portions and was surprisingly good.
At 1300 hrs., we convened again in the main building of the WWII Museum for our Memorial Service for all known shipmates that had passed since our last reunion in 2015, or, that we had been notified of passing and hadn’t been previously honored at a past memorial service. This year’s memorial listing honored 46 shipmates. Each of the shipmates’ names were read and the Bausell ship’s bell rang.
Thursday, we had a quick get together in the Hospitality Room for the “Bring one – Take One” drawing. Everyone participated and got to choose what they wanted from the multiple tables that were piled high with all kind of goodies. We also had the “Guess the mileage,” where everyone that wanted to participate submitted a guesstimate of the total miles traveled by the shipmates in attendance.
We also had a drawing for a banner, that had been donated by Shipmate Art Ramirez and won by Jerry Smith
Thursday night was banquet night and we convened in the big banquet room where we had some additional drawings for the 50/30/20/10, with 50% going to the TinCan Association for Museum Ship’s upkeep, the remain 50% was split and three lucky shipmates took a tad of pocket money home with them. We also had a Grand prize event which was an original artwork that he had created depicting the Bausell and a Chinese Junk along a coast line (hopefully, that’s the correct interpretation of the painting.) Brian Thayer donated the painting and presented it to John Warner who was the very happy winner of the painting. We also gave out lots of Bausell SWAG to other shipmates who names were drawn.
After the family style meal, we had a great time listening and dancing to some good music provided by one of the top DJ’s in New Orleans. Donovan Calfee, with Calfee Productions, provided the equipment and spun the discs. He told me he had over 100,000 tunes on his disc drives which included some awesome “belly-rubbing” music. All I can say is, who knew Gordan Fleischer had all them moves he showed on the dance floor.
We had a total of 50 shipmates and guests signed up for the optional tour on Friday, however, one of the guest had to leave and return home and another one reported in on sick call. The remaining 48 people loaded aboard a motor coach and toured downtown New Orleans. Unfortunately, we couldn’t go into the French Quarter because of the size limitation restrictions on buses. However, we did tour quite a bit of the other areas and we had a step on guide who was quite knowledgeable about all things New Orleans.
A notable stop that we made was at the Morning Call Café in City Park. Several of us partook of their great Beignets and old fashion coffee and I’m proud to say I fell off my diet enjoying the French pastry.
After we left City Park we headed up I-10/I-55 to Laplace, LA which is home to Cajun Pride Swamp Tours. As soon as we arrived, Cajun Pride’s staff had our box lunches ready to hand out and everyone dug in with the gusto of a hound dog chewing a fresh bone. (Are you catching a common thread about our reunion? The secret word might be “Eating”!)
Not long after we finished eating, we boarded the pontoon boat with Captain Danny in charge. Once out into the lagoon, Captain Danny regaled us with stories of the lagoon. He even baited the gators with marshmallows to get them to leap up and almost take the marshmallows out of his hand. All I can say is, Capt. Danny must be a good gator baiter, because he still had all his fingers on both hands.
The highlight of the tour was when Capt. Danny passed around a baby gator for everyone to take turns holding. You can look for pictures of everyone’s big smiles while taking their turn holding the baby gator in the Reunion Memory Book. And if you took pictures during the reunion, give me a call and let’s work out the details on getting them in the Memory Book.
One last note, we passed out the “After Action Survey” to all shipmates, we received 20 of the 48 back. There was lots of great feedback from the 20 shipmates and I can assure you we’ll take everyone’s comments, recommendations and gripes into consideration if at possible when planning future reunions. However, be aware that some things are beyond our control and others drive up room rates, so we must strive for good tradeoffs to keep hotel rooms affordable to everyone.
Since the reunion we have also received several Thank You notes from shipmates and families of our shipmates honored at the Memorial Service.
New Orleans, LA 2017 is now engraved in History but Washington D.C. 2019 IS OUR FUTURE.