Association 2013 National Reunion.....
The 2013 Patrol Gunboat Association was held in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Download a copy of the 2013 Registration Package in PDF Format HERE
The primary dates for the 2013 Patrol Gunboat Association Reunion were from Wednesday, August 14 through Sunday August 18, 2013.
Situated along the Mississippi River, Baton Rouge is home to the Louisiana State University Tigers, Southern University Jaguars and the Holiday Inn Hotel Baton Rouge South. The hotel is just 11 miles from Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport (BTR) and seven miles from downtown. From exciting museums to family entertainment, endless options awaited us. The Holiday Inn had everything we needed for our reunion including free Wi-Fi access and a Business Center. The hotelís restaurant, Cafe Galvez, serves both a breakfast and lunch buffet and an a la carte dinner menu. They also have both an indoor and an outdoor swimming pool and a Fitness Center.
Our special group rate for all standard rooms was $89.00 for single, double, triple quad. These rates were also good for three days prior and three days after the reunion. The room rate also included breakfast for registered guests.
The festivities started on Wednesday. This was an early arrival day so we could get settled in before we began our busy week. There were no tours or group meals on Wednesday. We opened the hospitality room at noon with check in starting around 3:00. As usual, we had commemorative coffee mugs and a free gift for each member. Members also had an opportunity to get a free ball cap with the purchase of raffle tickets. We also sold tickets for the 50-50 drawing. As always, there were free snacks, soft drinks and beer. The hotel hosted a welcome reception from 5:00 - 7:00 in the hospitality room.
Those attending their first Patrol Gunboat Reunion quickly found out that the Hospitality Room was the place to be anytime there was free time during the reunion. That is where they received the registration package, a schedule of tours and other events and meal and tour tickets for the events they signed up for when they registered. They also received their free 2013 Patrol Gunboat Association Reunion coffee mug and a chance to purchase tickets for the Saturday night raffle table and 50-50 drawing. Those who purchase of $20.00 in raffle table tickets also received a "Free" Ballcap. The hospitality room opened at noon on Wednesday and remained open until noon Sunday. Registration started at 3:00 and continued at various times throughout the reunion. There was free snacks, soft drinks and beer available in the hospitality room throughout the reunion also.
It seems like there is always something that goes wrong when setting up a reunion. This year I had initially contracted with one tour company. Some problems occurred with them in Late March which required me to change tour companies. This is one of the reasons the newsletter was so late.
Thursday we left the hotel at 9:00 and headed to New Orleans. After spending the morning on a driving tour of the city we headed to the New Orleans National World War II Museum for lunch. After lunch we visited the National World War II Museum. Ranked the #1 Attraction in New Orleans by TripAdvisor and the #1 Best Place to Learn U.S. Military History by USA Today, the National WWII Museum features a rich collection of artifacts that bring history to life. Explore the American Experience in the War That Changed the World.
When I came to Baton Rouge several years ago, it was to attend what is called a FAM. The FAM or Familiarization was sponsored by the Baton Rouge Convention and Visitors Bureau. It was a four night five day visit to Baton Rouge where we had an opportunity to visit several hotels and many of the tourist attractions available for reunion groups. One of the places we visited hosted us for an evening meal along with some wonderful entertainment. This was where I planned to have our Thursday Night Dining Out. Unfortunately, the owners decided that it was time to close their establishment and retire. So, planning the Thursday Night Dining Out waited until I arrived at the hotel for this years reunion.
One of the first things I did when I arrived in Baton Rouge was check out several restaurants that included entertainment. I finally found a place where the food was good and reasonably priced. I checked with their manager and was assured that they could handle a group dinner for 40 - 50 people on Thursday night. Setting up car pool transportation for those without a car was easy, we simply put up a signup sheet in the hospitality room. Those able to take people with them listed their name and how many seats they had available. Those needing transportation just paired up with those having seats available. Around 50 of use were at the restaurant and seated by 7:00 Thursday night. At that point however, things went terribly wrong. Some of us got great food, although most were served after a two hour wait. Some of us got cold food after a two hour wait and a few got no food, also after a two hour wait. No question, the next time I have to plan the dining out at the last minute, I will do a better job of checking out the restaurant and making sure that they know our needs and requirements.
Our Friday tour got underway at 9:00 when we headed out to the USS Kidd (DD-661). Known as the Pirate of the Pacific, this Fletcher Class Destroyer is located in the heart of downtown Baton Rouge. She is the centerpiece of a memorial which serves to honor the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. We left the USS Kidd around 11:30 and headed out for lunch on our own in downtown Baton Rouge. After lunch we headed to the LSU Rural Life Museum. The museum provides excellent articles, exhibits and information about the lifestyles and ways of life of the rural people of Louisiana. The museum contains artifacts dealing with everyday rural life up to the early 20th century.
Returning to the hotel after our Friday tour, it was soon time to get ready for our Friday evening Buffet Dinner. Following dinner we had a short open mike session for those who wanted to make comments or even tell a few sea stories. Following dinner, most of us headed to the hospitality room to relax, chat and enjoy the company of our shipmates.
Saturday morning we held our annual business meeting. Topics included Association Finances and the location of the 2014 Reunion.
The bar opened at 6:00 and everyone was seated in the banquet room in time for us to start the opening ceremony promptly at 7:00. While we ate dinner, we drew the winning tickets for the 50-50 drawing. Following dinner we had the raffle table drawing for some really great prizes including free rooms at the 2014 reunion. The evening was complimented by us being entertained by Anne Vidrene and her assistant. Anne is well known in Baton Rouge for her presentation on various musical instruments unique to Louisiana. Even the kids had a wonderful time.
ALL GOOD THINGS COME TO AN END
Sunday morning many of us met for one last time in the hotel lobby to share hugs and promise to meet again at the next annual Patrol Gunboat Association reunion. The hospitality room closed at noon.
Updated by Terry W. McManuels
Copyright © 2006 PGRA. All rights reserved. Revised: 09/27/13.