By Mr. Andrew Creagh '04, Band Director
On the first day in New Orleans the students were able to explore the Riverwalk Mall area and shop. After that, we all went to the Audubon Aquarium of Americas. The students saw many fish, sharks, stingrays, eels, turtles, frogs, alligators, etc. After a few hours at the Aquarium, we went to the hotel to check in and freshen up for dinner. For dinner, we went to the Palm Court Jazz Café where we ate gumbo, salad, chicken creole, and bread pudding. We had the whole restaurant to ourselves and listened to a GREAT jazz combo. The students were dancing to the traditional jazz and Dixieland music throughout the night.
The next morning we headed to the New Orleans haunted cemetery tour. We broke up into small groups and went with tour guides through the cemetery and discussed the history, burial practices, and famous people who resided at the cemetery. Then, we headed to the Oak Alley Plantation for our first performance. We performed about six or seven pieces and did a great job, especially for not touching their instruments for a week. After traveling back to the city, the students got ready for our dinner at the Hard Rock Café.
On Thursday morning, we ate our breakfast at the hotel and left to go to the Cajun Pride Swamp Tour. The tour guides actually had live alligators, snakes, and turtles on the boat that the students were able to pass around. We saw many different alligators, turtles, and different kinds of birds on the tour. After that, we headed to Jackson Square in the French Quarter for our 2nd performance. The students did a WONDERFUL job. I received many compliments from the people in the crowd, including five different band directors from around the country. After we loaded the trucks and buses, the students were able to have some free time with their chaperones in the French Quarter where they ate and went shopping. Then, we all met at the Natchez Steamboat Dinner Jazz Cruise. The students were able to sit and listen to a jazz combo and sit out on the deck. Then, we went down into the boat for dinner.
Once the students were checked out of the hotel, we headed over to Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World, where the students were able to look at hundreds of floats used in the Mardi Gras Parades. We were in a warehouse where the workers constructed the floats as well. After Mardi Gras World, the students had the option of going to the World War II museum, Riverwalk Marketplace, or walking around the French Quarter for a few hours. After that, we met the buses and left for home.
I really want to thank all of the tour chaperones who helped with the tour. The chaperones were Mr. and Mrs. Donnelly, Ms. Kikos, Ms. O’Connell, Mrs. Kelly, Mr. Sullivan, Mr. Lyons, and Mr. Kemp. Monitoring 120 students 24 hours a day is very difficult, and I could not have done this tour without the help and assistance from the chaperones.
I would also like to thank Mr. Jackson and Mr. Coe for help with planning the tour and helping chaperone the students as well. It is always a pleasure working with professional and excellent educators.
I also want to thank the parents for sacrificing and dedicating a lot of time and effort into making this tour happen. The band program at Marist is successful in large part due to the parent’s support and dedication.
Next year, the band will be touring Disney World over spring break!