Back to his roots: New Orleans native gets Navy promotion in Jackson Square

NEW ORLEANS -- Nola Navy Week brought the USS Kearsarge right up the Mississippi River, and it brought former navy security officer, now Lieutenant Jesse Izdepski, back to his roots.

"I've got about 18 years of service right now. I've never had an opportunity to wear my uniform in my home town, never had the opportunity to ride a ship back to my hometown," says Lieutenant Jesse Izdepski.

Izdepski grew up in Algiers, later attended Fontainebleau High School in Mandeville, and then graduated from LSU before enlisting in the Navy in the year 2000.

"He's not afraid to do a difficult task, and he's not afraid to take something on. He got into the Navy because he wanted to make a way to have a wife and a child, and have what they needed in life, and he liked it," says Jesse's mom, Susan Izdepski.

In Jackson Square, a special ceremony was held for Izdepski, after serving as the security officer on his ship, he is now promoted to lieutenant.

All seven of his siblings were present at the honorable promotion and assisted with Izdepski's new shoulder boards, representing his current naval rank.

A nearby band stopped by to pay their respects and added a little New Orleans touch to this special occasion.

"You know there are many cities you travel throughout the world, many cities you travel throughout America, and they seem the same as every other city. However, New Orleans is not like that. New Orleans is unique. There's a reason why people from all over the world, when I tell them I'm from New Orleans, they know what that means. They smile because they know what that means. They usually tell me something like, 'Oh, I'm going to go visit New Orleans' or 'I want to visit New Orleans' or 'I did visit New Orleans,'and I slap them on the back and say good job big boy!" says Lieutenant Izdepski.

As Nola Navy Week comes to an end, Lt. Izdepski hopes that these last few days have sparked a since of patriotism in New Orleans residents and visitors.

"I hope that somebody sees us. I hope they do what I did many years ago and say, 'Wow! That is who I want to be. That is what I want to be.'  It gives them hopefully a sense of purpose," says Lt. Izdepski.