SAN DIEGO --
Sailors aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18) participated in a Mardi Gras themed re-opening of the newly refurbished dining facilities, Feb. 17.
The dining facilities underwent extensive renovations to incorporate the ship’s namesake during New Orleans’ planned maintenance availability.
“When I first arrived at the command, the ship still looked like the stock model after seven years and four deployments. Today, [the dining facilities] match the lively and colorful character of the crew,” said Commanding Officer Capt. Douglas C. Verissimo.
The mess decks were renovated to look like the French Quarter, complete with a 35-foot long mural. Further incorporating the theme, the galley was renamed Café du Monde, the wardroom was remodeled after Arnaud’s restaurant, and the chiefs’ mess was renamed the Pelican Club, all after famous restaurants in New Orleans.
Mardi Gras coincided with the reopening of the dining facilities, and Sailors enjoyed a special meal with a presentation of foods commonly enjoyed in the city of New Orleans during the world renowned celebration. Chicken jambalaya, seafood boil, and Cajun spiced pork loin were some of the entrees offered to the crew.
“The food was amazing… I felt like I was at a restaurant. I’m really looking forward to eating here everyday,” said Damage Controlman 2nd Class (SW) Aaron Gonzales.
Chef Jeff Mora, owner of “Food Fleet”, brought his team to assist with the relaunch of the galley. Mora used to work at K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen in New Orleans under Chef Paul Pruthomme, and looked forward to bringing the flavor of Big Easy aboard New Orleans.
“It is important to bring a quality meal to all, especially to those who work tirelessly day-in and day-out. New Orleans is a very special place to me and I am glad to be able to bring the cuisine of New Orleans to this ship,” said Mora.
Those in attendance included Capt. Edward Butzirus, President of the Supply Corps Association San Diego Chapter.
“When we get right down to it, this effort is all about supporting the operational war fighter and improving readiness and crew morale. The team that planned and executed this amazing renovation are top shelf and I commend you for your impressive team effort,” said Butzirus.
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