I was watching the beginning of the final day at Mardi Gras in New Orleans this morning. And what a flood of memories.
First let me say it’s a long way up that river from the gulf when you’re traveling in a United States Submarine…And it’s cold too…I was maneuvering watch helmsman, with the hatch to the bridge open, going up river on a twelve hour maneuvering watch. we finally made it, and a good time was had by all.
We had tours of the Boat for several days, and were packed everyday. A few months after leaving, we received word that the City asked for us to return the next year…which we did. We first went to Galveston and trained reserves for a week..all I can say about Galveston was they told me I had a great time…but that’s another story.
I had learned enough on our first trip to save as much money as I could. We were here for ten days before Ash Wednesday started..What a party !!!…some of our guys brought some young ladies aboard looking for a place to sleep..some were stashed safely in Hogan’s Alley, and a couple were in the rag locker under the deck plates in the forward torpedo room. They would knock if they needed to come up, and use the Officers head ( toilet) located in the forward room. I had a mid watch, and one of the ladies came out of the head at the same time the OD stepped in to the room to use it. She turned and said hello, then back under the deck plates she went…He looked at me, and just shook his head. I started to say something, but he raised his hand and said, “I don’t want to hear it.” Submarine Officers were cool like that.
Later we backed out in the Mississippi and submerged the ship, it’s a whole new game in fresh water, and there was a Japanese freighter coming down river. We were told the Captain had been sunk in WW11 by a Submarine, and when he saw the periscope he panicked and almost ran a ground. But it ended well.
Several members of the crew found this club with some of the most beautiful women ever, that would dance all night, but they weren’t women, they were guys, and you couldn’t tell it. It seemed you had to watch this town.
We drank our Hurricanes at Pat O’brien’s…took a cab to the cemetery to visit Marie Laveau..went to the “Bucket of Blood” to see if it was that tuff a place…and we’re watching a fight on Bourbon Street, when this mounted police officer, got his horse right in the middle of the combatants and went round and round…but the horse bumped Dutro (first name is long been forgotten). he was a little inebriated and drew back and hit that horse in the nose as hard as he could. Police came from everywhere, and a van already full of drunks appeared as if by magic. They carried most of us back to the ship, except Dutro, which they kept.
As soon as the police van left, the OD let us go back downtown with a warning. He was hanging around the Sonar shack under the After Battery…I found out later the best looking of our visitors was safely stashed in Sonar.
We shut Fat Tuesday down at midnight, and staggered back to the Ship.