Unusual day in New Orleans

From press reports

A tour of the USS Wasp, a ferry ride across the Mississippi River, a streetcar ride, a walk through the French Market, and a New Orleans mid-city restaurant were on the itinerary for a group of LES 5th and 6th grade TAG students, friends, and parents.

Students had the opportunity to tour the USS Wasp, a Navy-Marine amphibious assault ship built in Pascagoula, MS, docked at Julia Street Wharf for Navy Week in celebration of the Bicentennial of the War of 1812. (The fifth USS Wasp successfully stopped the British advance to New Orleans in 1814.)

The group was amazed as the size of the vessel which can carry a crew of 1075 and another 1600 embarked troops. Below deck they learned about and had “climb on” access to more than a half-dozen military vehicles. On deck, students examined a helicopter and learned that vertical/short take-off and landing jets are also accommodated on the ship. Then with careful Navy and Marine supervision, the students got “up close and personal” with unloaded weapons and other gear. Following the nearly two-hour tour, the group ate in the Riverwalk food court before heading for a cool down at the fountain in Spanish Plaza. From there, they boarded the Algiers ferry for a quick ride across the Mississippi and back.

Then the riverfront streetcar delivered them to the flea market-end of the French Market, and students shopped their way back to Jackson Square. Because the ship tour and a crowded food court had “eaten up” much of the French Quarter time, students were disappointed at not getting to do some things that they were looking forward to, but they had an unexpected treat—a short parade that included several Mardi Gras Indians in full costume. The parade was headed to the river pay tribute to the water which had been harmed by the BP spill two years ago.

Students ended their day in New Orleans with a sit-down dinner at Mandina’s (an old mid-town restaurant) and a quick loop down Canal, Carrolton, and St. Charles.

To be eligible for this out-of-state trip, TAG students had to reach a set percentage of their Accelerated Reading and Accelerated Math goals. Those who met their goals were allowed to bring a friend who also met the goals.

Sixth graders making the trip were Miracle Beasley, Brandon Bynum, Pervis Frazier, Amaya Glass, Taylor Hall, Michelle Hopkins, Eric Humphries, Carlmeisha Hunt, Diana Richardson, Eric Sudduth, Lakiaa Triplett, and Savannah Watkins.

Fifth graders included Marquitta Byrd, Maya Clay, Shemar Eiland, Nick Harris, Derius Hopkins, Bria Hunt, Tia Hunt, Erika Jordan, Elijah Miles, Callie Roach, Makaela Stewart, Dezirae Thames, and Tya’Nyah Willis.

Chaperones who make such trips possible included Emily Cade, Tracey Fairley, Anitra Frazier, LaCrystal Glenn, Kristy Haynes, Cylesha and Derick Hopkins, Barbara Hunt, Holly Preston, Betty Roach, Natalie Stewart, Suzie Sudduth, and Holly Watkins. Kristian Hopkins and Chase Fairley accompanied their parents. Nancy Ellis organized the trip for her students.