Written by Ensign Shane Corbett
The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Cypress represented the service as part of the 2018 New Orleans Fleet Week from April 20-23, 2018. This year’s event on the banks of the Mississippi River accompanied the city’s Tri-Centennial celebration and Tall Ship Festival.
Leading up to this highly visible triannual celebration, the crew spent countless hours repainting, refurbishing, and renovating Cypress so it could shine in the heart of the 8th District. Never satisfied with a single mission, Cypress worked with Air Station New Orleans to conduct a helicopter search-and-rescue hoist exercise over a 98-mile river transit to New Orleans. The training and follow-on Buoy Deck movie night provided the first morale boost of many for the crew during the event.
Upon mooring at Woldenberg River Park alongside four multinational tall ships, Cypress and its crew prepared for the 8th District’s reception. More than 150 guests attended the reception including: four flag officers; the Marine Corps Forces Reserve commander; representatives from Navy Region Southeast and Navy Expeditionary Group Two; senior officers; city officials; and Cypress’ crew. Guests were given an elegant service and dining experience by the culinary division who prepared banh mi sliders, strawberry cheesecake bites, and various delicious appetizers throughout the social evening on the buoy deck.
Following the event, the weekend led with public tours aboard Cypress engaging with a staggering 3,000 tourists in the span of two days. The cutter shined in the lime light as all 3,000 individuals received firsthand experience with guided tours on a Coast Guard cutter, many of whom had never been on a ship. As guests admired some of Cypress’ crew, other crew members attended numerous receptions aboard other participating naval vessels, and enjoyed a party hosted by Naval Criminal Investigative Service: New Orleans, and conducted foreign outreach during revelry with Canadian and French sailors. Additionally, Cypress’ culinary specialist, Petty Officer 3rd Class Joanna Thomas, participated in the NOLA Navy Week Seafood Cook-Off contest held at Manning’s Restaurant, placing third overall.
New Orleans’ 2018 Fleet Week allowed the citizens of New Orleans and the tens of thousands of visitors to explore the nation’s largest afloat asset stationed in the Gulf of Mexico and meet those who are often behind the scenes providing safe navigation to facilitate recreational boating and the flow of commerce in the region.