Three thousand sailors are in New Orleans for Navy Week, marking the start of the nation’s bicentennial of the War of 1812. Some seeing the city for the first time will be getting pointers from sailors coming home for the celebrations.
Breshion Benn is a yeoman first class petty officer, ensuring smooth administration aboard the USS DeWert guided-missile frigate. Benn grew up in the Lower Ninth Ward and is making sure his shipmates make the most of New Orleans.
“I am dying to eat some gumbo and I always go to my favorite spot, which is Broad and Banks seafood, on the corner of Broad and Banks. And I have talked to a lot of my friends and highly recommend it. I told them it’s not a sit-down restaurant, but it has the best gumbo in New Orleans.”
First Class Petty Officer Donald Ezernack is from Gonzalez. He’s most excited about showing off the frigate to his friends and family, and possibly attending a major family event.
“Maybe, when I’m here, my baby sister is actually going to have her second child, hopefully sometime this week. We’ll see. But I might be here in town whenever she has it. So we’ll see.”
Fire controlman third class Johnny Cochran is from Gautier, Mississippi, but has had many visits to New Orleans. His wife and two-year-old son and extended family will be visiting, and between giving tours for the public, he’s taking in a Hornets game and maybe the aquarium.
“I hear that the city’s really gotten a lot of things together for us. I’m really excited to be able to go see things from a different angle.”
Commander Vince Baker says his crew will also be signing up for duty at restoration projects throughout the city.
“We’re going to be involved with the community and the people of New Orleans. We’re happy to be invited to New Orleans and connect with the people here.”
The DeWert is docked at the Governor Nicholls Street Wharf, where nearby tall ships are also available for tours.