USS NEW ORLEANS, At Sea - Sailors and Marines aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18) were treated to a "Mardi Gras" themed dinner, March 4.
Sailors and Marines enjoyed an all-you-can-eat buffet with a presentation of foods commonly enjoyed in the city of New Orleans during the celebration. The menu included chicken jambalaya, gumbo, macaroni and cheese, cheese grits, stuffed shrimp, and king cake.
Louisiana native Interior Communications Electrician 2nd Class Joseph Rials said he appreciated the hard work put into the event.
"The dinner was amazing," said Rials. "I couldn't be home for Mardi Gras this year, and the way they prepared the food really is a touch of home for me."
The Mardi Gras menu planning started weeks before the event and gave the Culinary Specialists more opportunities to try new recipes in the galley.
"We went all out and have been preparing pretty hard," said Culinary Specialist Seaman Jose Hernandez. "We did our best to try and recreate the taste experience of Mardi Gras."
It was an experience to remember aboard a ship at sea by her crew and embarked Marines said the Food Service Officer Lt. j.g. Jeff Morgan.
"When you ask a Sailor or Marine what they're going to do when they finally get the chance to go ashore, they will nine times out of ten tell you where they're going to go eat," said Morgan. "Judging by the longer than normal chow lines today it shows that even though Culinary Specialists cook every day, they truly made an impression on the crew and had them coming back for more."
"I really appreciate that they did this," said Rials. "It's definitely a morale booster."
New Orleans is part of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group and, with embarked 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.