We reached our hotel, the Holiday Inn French Quarter, located on Rue Royal about seven in the evening. All of our rooms were ready to occupy in what we found to be very nice accommodations with most of us on the top three floors of the 20 story hotel. The view from our room was a breathtaking panorama of the French Quarter with the famous bend of the Mississippi River in the background.
Band members arrived from the state of Washington (our bassoonist Rhonda Hine) and from Goodland, Kansas came the Jolly family: Jay (tuba), Carol (vocalist) and daughters Amanda (flute) and Abby. French hornist Danielle Eversole arrived from Florida to be with grandparents Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Parkins who now reside in southern Illinois. Wayne plays sousaphone.
There were 110 of us including friends of the band and relatives. My cousins Jane and Poncho Brennan from Jacksonville, Florida came, as well as my cousin Peggy Miller of Tallahassee, Florida. They all brought friends to enjoy the sites and sounds which awaited us all.
Turner Coaches sent us two super drivers: Randy of Clay City took us as far as Memphis and our good friend Marshall Nuckolls picked us up at Memphis and stayed with us the entire week. Marshall did a superb job maneuvering our huge coach around the horse and buggy streets of the French quarter. He received numerous rounds of applause as he rounded the tightest of corners.
Monday evening was "on your own" as our delegation fanned out in all directions. It is rumored some even took in the sites of Bourbon Street! (ahem). Our little group went to Ralph and Kakoo's, a seafood and steak place on Toulouse which was an easy walk. Here we each savored a fine meal in one of the Crescent City's most famous eateries. From there, we wandered the fabled French Quarter until the wee hours before retiring for the night in anticipation of our first concert.