The last leg of the road, whether filled with championships or not, New Orleans was a wonderful end to a month of weekends with the California Women’s Basketball Team!
It all started on a Thursday once again, this time we started in Haas Pavilion, marching in and playing for a rally that had been announced by the Chancellor, where he even suggested supervisors let their employees leave work to attend. If only professors thought of themselves as "supervisors." It was a great event and had a pretty good turnout.
From there we were off to Oakland International, taking a chartered flight on a Southwest plane as we did for Lubbock.
We got there and found that it was a bit windy and cold. We quickly got our bags and got on buses. We were staying at the Intercontinental Hotel in New Orleans, and they had placed Cal and Final Four stickers and decorations everywhere, even on our keycards! After our bags were dropped off, we headed back to the lobby to greet the team as they came and checked in.
We didn’t do much as a band in New Orleans aside from performances, so small groups headed to different places and did different things at the same time. Almost everyone went to Jackson Square and Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, and the weather was wonderful when we took our walking adventures all of Friday.
Many of us ended up going to Preservation Hall and catching performances of live jazz, and even found a museum displaying an exhibit on the Preservation Hall Jazz Band turning 50.
We even saw the cornet that Louis Armstrong first started playing on, as well as a statue in a park bearing his name
That Friday afternoon we went to Marti Gras World (yes, there’s a world) where many past floats were collected, to take part in a small parade for the Final Four teams while the spirit groups cheered them on.
Saturday morning we had another gig, playing for the "Tourney Town" right outside the Arena as fans ran a 4k run as they crossed the finish line, before going in and playing during the open practice for the team.
Oski also had some fun running warm ups with the All American high school teams that came in after us.
That afternoon, the band came together for a very special performance, where we went down Bourbon Street, marching and stopping along the way, playing sets for some very excited people, and letting a few people try their hand at making a noise or two. It was absolutely amazing to do this, it was so much fun playing up and down the street with people cheering and enjoying the entire time!
Finally after all the fun, gameday was upon us come Sunday, and there were more events in Tourney Town the band was headed to. It all started with a mascot competition, where each of the Final Four mascots came to compete against each other with some local kids. Needless to say, Oski was by far the best, and garnered a $1000 check for his triumph over all!
While there was some downtime before the next segment, many people came up and took pictures with us.
Each band put on its show to entertain the crowd. Naturally the Straw Hat Band was the best! :)
We had one last tailgate to play at a place called Lucy’s where we wound ourselves up a narrow set of stairs to burst upon the Cal faithful who had taken over the top floor.
After this we headed back to the hotel, making our last March to Victory of the trip, this time joined by many fans, including current New Orleans Saints player, Cameron Jordan.
We then made our way into the arena well in advance of the game, getting situated for the matchup against the Cardinals and started playing.
The first half was wonderful for us, with the Bears looking like they had the game in the bag, and we enjoyed making trouble for the Louisville free throwers when they came down our way.
Oski even found himself a courtside seat between two ladies who looked very surprised to see him.
As they were acknowledging athletes at the half, we had a visit from you guys here at CGB with an interview from Lindsay Brauner with our outgoing Public Relations Director. Check it out here!
As the second half carried on, the Bears' lead dwindled, but we kept the energy and excitement going!
As the Bears let slip the lead, we waited hoping and praying we could snatch the lead back with less than five minutes to go, but all for naught.
Before leaving the court the team came over and gave one final wave to the fans that had traveled over half the length of the country to see them play.
We stayed one more night in town, before flying home the next day, a wonderful season come to an end with some of the best people we’ve ever had the pleasure to travel with. It was a long month with too many close calls for comfort, but we enjoyed every minute of it, and though we didn’t see a win when we went to New Orleans, we had one of the best trips the Band or Cal fans have had in a long time! On the flight home we thanked the women’s team for the memories, and the wonderful 2nd semester vacation they gave us.
Thank you for following our adventures throughout the NCAA, we really hope you enjoyed it! Until next time from the Pride of California, GO BEARS!
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