New Orleans, the site of the 2002 Lansing reunion is one of the most unique
cities in the country, featuring a mix of French, Caribbean, Spanish, English,
and Cajun cultures. This mix is reflected in most aspects of life in the city,
the lively music, the sinfully delicious food and colorful customs of the area.
During our reunion we were able to take advantage of many of the Big Easy’s attractions.
Our activities ranged from prowling local cemeteries and voodoo museums, alligator watching
in the bayou, cruising the Mississippi on a paddleboat. and even improving our knowledge
of American history with a tour of the site of the Battle of New Orleans .We learned more
about the characters in the battle at of all things, a puppet show in Lafitte. The social side
of the reunion included a cocktail reception for both reunion attendees and former crewmembers
who live in the New Orleans area. Frank Glavina, a member of the DE crew during WWII, and a
retired New Orleans police sergeant attended and fascinated us with his description of life on
the Lansing during “the big war”.
Our other big social event was a dinner dance at the Bayou Barn with an authentic Cajun Band and
all-you-could-eat Cajun food. The highlight of the evening was the Mardi Gras parade staged by the
ladies, during which they handed out many beads. Easily one of the great parades of our time. .
The dancing skills of the group including fancy stepping by Richard (Superman) Skillman, continue
to amaze everyone. We’re told that the gold beads have special significance and require some
specific action on the part of the recipient. Perhaps one of the ladies will share this secret
with us at the next reunion.
At the annual business meeting we voted to keep the dues at $20.00 per year. The Jacksonville,
Florida area was selected as the site of the 2004 reunion. During the business meeting, the ladies
held their annual gift exchange. It was reported that it was much politer than in the past. Barbara
thinks they’re mellowing out as the years pass.We also understand that there wasn’t much left at the
French Market after a shopping trip by the Lansing gang. We’ve heard that the Casino had to make a
special call to its bank after a visit by some of the crew members. One of the ladies, best left
unnamed, received a special souvenir from a pigeon outside the Café du Monde. All part of life in
the Big Easy.The reunion concluded, as it always does, with a memorial service, as we remembered our
shipmates who had passed away during the past year. As we age, the list gets a little longer each year.
This year’s reunion was one of our best. The fellowship was wonderful and you can’t say enough good things
about New Orleans. God willing and the creek don’t rise, we’ll see you in Seattle in September 2003.