Sailors aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18) participated in a Mardi Gras themed re-opening of the newly refurbished mess decks recently.
The mess decks underwent extensive renovations to incorporate the ship’s namesake during New Orleans’ planned maintenance availability.
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Aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LP D 18) Capt. Douglas Verissimo, New Orleans commanding officer, delivers opening remarks during the ribbon cutting ceremony for the grand re-opening of New Orleans’ renovated mess decks. Photo by MC1 Class Gary Granger Jr.
“When I first arrived at the command, the ship still looked like the stock model after seven years and four deployments. Today, [the mess deck] 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 mess decks, 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 every day,” said Damage Controlman Second Class (SW) Aaron Gonzales.
Chef Jeff Mora, owner of “Food Fleet,” brought his team to assist with the re-launch of the galley. Mora used to work at K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen in New Orleans under Chef Paul Prudhomme, 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.
By Ens. Chloe J. Morgan, USN; USS New Orleans Public Affairs