New Orleans Expanding Its Offerings

NEW ORLEANS -- By 1999, this city will boast as many as five new attractions.

In addition, a few others will have completed significant renovations or changes.

Among the new attractions are the following:

* The Zephyr Stadium, home to the New Orleans Zephyrs, opened in April in time for the start of the 1997 AAA baseball season.

* The National D-Day museum, scheduled to open in late 1997, will house memorabilia of the day the U.S., Britain and other Allied forces invaded the beaches of Normandy.

* The Ogden Museum of Southern Art is being developed to tell the story of the visual arts in the American South and showcase the best of the past, present and future of Southern culture.

The museum is scheduled to open in 1999 and, according to officials, will be the only one of its kind in the region.

* The New Orleans Sports Arena, to be located behind the Louisiana Superdome in the city's downtown area, is scheduled to come on line in the spring of 1999.

Initial plans call for the venue to have a capacity of 20,000 for concerts, 18,500 for basketball games and 17,500 for ice hockey games.

* The Audubon Living Science Museum is to have its debut late in 1999, housing a collection of exotic and rare insects including both living and preserved specimens.

Facilities with projects to be completed by 2000 are the following:

* The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center's Phase III expansion program has construction proceeding toward an early 1999 completion.

The expansion will bring the total contiguous floor space from 700,000 square feet to 1.1 million square feet.

* The New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts will have a home on the banks of the Mississippi by spring 1999.

* In the French Quarter, the Wildlife and Fisheries Building on Royal Street is to reopen with the Louisiana Supreme Court as its tenant.

The building will have a museum and also will be home to the state attorney general's office, judicial administrative offices, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and a law library.

In other news, in December the Riverfront and St. Charles Avenue streetcar lines will be connected.

Also, the Aquarium of the Americas had the debut in March of its Fatal Beauties exhibit, which will be on display through early 1998.

The exhibit sheds light on some creatures that have become larger than life through myths, folklore and even the movies and explores the different ways they use poison, fangs and spines to take care of themselves.

Among these would be such species as tarantulas, sea snakes, porcupinefish and bees.

It is presented as a fun, walk-through, hands-on adventure.

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