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How Do You Advertise a Town Ravaged by Hurricanes?



As a 24-year-old public relations representative for her city, Kathryn Shea Duncan eats, sleeps and breathes Lake Charles, La.

The working-class town, home to about 80,000 people and just inland from the Gulf of Mexico, is the big city she grew up visiting, and where she spent Thanksgiving with family. She rented her first home in Lake Charles. She met her boyfriend, Ryan Beeson, at the Panorama Music House downtown. She can tell you the best place to get a po' boy, hold a baby alligator or crab off dry land.

But Ms. Duncan’s resolve to stay in the city has been shaken by the series of hurricanes that have devastated the place and much of the surrounding area this year. Thousands of residents remain displaced, and aid — in the form of charitable giving and volunteers — has been hard to come by with the whole country struggling with coronavirus outbreaks and distracted by politics. (The mayor, Nic Hunter, has worked to spread awareness of the state of his city, appearing on CNN, Fox News and NPR, where he told listeners, “I am begging, I am pleading for Americans not to forget about Lake Charles.”)

It has Ms. Duncan questioning how she will continue to do the job of promoting the place she loves.

“The reality is, what product do we have to pitch?” she said. “What event? What’s open? We know that all of our hotels are going to be filled till the end of the year with utility workers and first responders. And then, sooner or later, with families who have been displaced.”

It has also shifted her thinking about her own future. (Lake Charles is not located on the coast, but it is still affected by frequent storms, a changing coast line and sea level rise.)

“You start thinking, what does your house look like?” Ms. Duncan said. “What does your job look like? What is everything that I do for a living, promote for a living, going to look like?”

Before the storms, Ms. Duncan’s job was to pitch stories to out-of-state writers and reporters about Lake Charles and Southwest Louisiana, including about the Creole Nature Trail, a scenic byway that lets visitors walk through Louisiana tall grasses and alligator habitats, and Adventure Point, an attraction along the trail where kids can don real-life hunting gear and smell spices used in Louisiana cooking.

“We were still pitching stories during Covid-19,” she said, “but we couldn’t host anyone, because we really just can’t do that safely.” When Hurricane Laura hit, though, her bosses “mainly cared about our well-being and our health.”

On Aug. 25, the night Laura made landfall, Mr. Beeson and Ms. Duncan were at Ms. Duncan’s mother’s house in Crowley, La., a town about a quarter of the size of Lake Charles, and about an hour away by car.

Mr. Beeson woke Ms. Duncan in the middle of the night. “I know you don’t want to see this, but I think you should know what’s going on,” he said, handing Ms. Duncan his phone. It revealed a photograph of the Panorama Music House, completely destroyed.

“Literally, it had just fallen,” Ms. Duncan said. “Like a waterfall.”

The owners had been in the process of building a small museum on the top floor dedicated to the musical history of Lake Charles, which Ms. Duncan was excited to recommend to visitors. (The country musician Lucinda Williams, for example, was born and raised nearby and named one of her most famous songs after the town.)

“I just sat there, sobbing,” Ms. Duncan said. “Grieving for what might be lost.”

That hurricane, a category four storm, ended up displacing more than 6,000 Lake Charles residents. Wind damage left small buildings and big box stores, like Best Buy and Hobby Lobby, in pieces, and tens of thousands of people were without electricity for weeks.

Ms. Duncan’s home survived with minimal damage, but her office had to be gutted. Her neighbor had it much worse. “She had ceiling damage, so they’re gutting her side out,” she said. “She can’t live there. And she’s a nurse.”

Then, in October, Hurricane Delta made a turn for Lake Charles. Ms. Duncan boarded up her house once again, storing her television in her laundry room along with framed photographs of her deceased father.

Ms. Duncan’s family has lived in this region of Louisiana for generations, and have roots going back to the original group of Cajuns who were exiled from Acadia, in Canada, by the British in the 1700s.

Physically, the state has changed a lot since then. In 2014, the map was redrawn to account for a shrinking coastline, and storms are more frequent — and more deadly — than ever. But Ms. Duncan is committed to riding it out.

“We can make it better,” she said. “Through economic development and improving our infrastructure, and having a cleaner environment, and better transportation. You can’t do all of those big things if you don’t stay and work at it day by day.”

“I’m a very future-oriented person,” Ms. Duncan said, sitting in her den in Lake Charles, under a framed, hand-drawn map of the state of Louisiana. “I’m always planning the next five years.”

It stands to reason that Ms. Duncan might eventually want to move to a different city. But Lake Charles is her home, she said. And leaving never felt as alluring as staying put.

“If I were to move somewhere with a million people, it would be almost meaningless to try and make a difference,” she said. “But if I stay here, and am resilient, living in a city of 80,000, where mostly all of them think and act the same, and I’m a millennial who probably does not have the same thoughts and experiences as those around me, I can make a difference.”

“If I leave,” she added, “then who is going to stay? Who is going to be that person?”

October was a different story. With Hurricane Delta baring down on Lake Charles, she and Mr. Beeson evacuated once again, this time to San Antonio to stay with friends. With traffic, the normally five-hour drive took them 12. “To be completely honest with you, I wanted to move,” Ms. Duncan said. “I was frustrated. I was angry that this kept happening.”

But after the storm, Ms. Duncan was overwhelmed with emotion seeing the work her community did together to rebuild. It’s exciting, she said, to be a part of that. There’s a Facebook group for her neighborhood, where people check in on one another, making sure they all have what they need.

“Even our mail lady is in the group,” Ms. Duncan said, “and two days after Laura, she posted that she was on her way home, and that she was going to drop off the mail when she got there.”

It made Ms. Duncan reconsider her frustration. “I was kind of like, OK, maybe I need to chill out, and stay here a little longer,” she said, adding she felt that there was a reason she was here.

Now, back at the satellite office, Ms. Duncan and her team are working on budgeting for the next fiscal year, trying to come up with a plan to sell Lake Charles again. It’s about rebuilding, but rebuilding better, and taking advantage of the new things that might come out of this dark period of the city’s history.

“There may be new restaurants, and new attractions that come from this,” she said. “There’s sort of this unfortunate beauty that might come from this. Maybe the inside of one of our attractions is gutted, and that sucks, but maybe they have an opportunity to reinvent themselves.”

Seeing how Lake Charles has come together in the wake of two hurricanes has only made the decision easier. “It’s more fulfilling now, to be sure,” she said. “It validates why I choose to stay here. Yes, everyone’s lives are in chaos right now. But we’re still checking in on each other, making sure we’re OK. We worry about our neighbors, even in the midst of our own struggles.”

Something about the fact that there are many obstacles ahead makes Ms. Duncan more dedicated to the place. “If I were to leave, I would be a different environment and all that,” she said. “But by staying, I’m constantly challenging myself. It’s that constant, daily challenge of thinking, what can I do better? How can I make this place better? How can I leave it better for the next generation?”

By: Jeanie Riess
Title: How Do You Advertise a Town Ravaged by Hurricanes?
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Published Date: Sat, 07 Nov 2020 10:00:15 +0000

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What could you order from Ansett Airlines’ inflight bar in the early 1970s?




People have always liked to drink on board flights, especially people from Australia. Therefore, it should be no surprise to anyone that there was an inflight bar offering in the 1970s.

Ansett Airlines were a major player in the Australian domestic market up until their demise in September 2001. For many years, there were two domestic airlines, Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA) and Ansett.

Ansett’s Inflight Bar

At the time, Ansett operated Boeing 727s, Douglas DC-9s and Fokker F27 Friendships on domestic routes in the country. Airline tickets were quite expensive, with tariffs agreed upon by both airlines thanks to Australia’s weird two-airline policy at the time.

While tickets were expensive and food complimentary, you still had to pay for a drink at the bar. Here is an inflight bar menu from the era, showing the drinks available and their prices.

Clearly the pricing is astounding by today’s standards – 30 cents for a beer? I’ll have thirty-three please! I like how Australian gin is 35c while the imported gin is just 5c more. Which would you choose?

You can tell it is from another era as you can buy cigarettes on board. These price up at 45c, a far cry from the extortionate prices people in the west pay these days for a smoke!

Overall Thoughts

The on board offering is pretty comprehensive for internal flights, and I imagine you’d be hard pressed not to find something you might like. In those times, all payments would have been by cash as well, which would have meant a lot of coinage being handled on board.

Of course, things haven’t changed too much over the years. On many airlines you pay for your drinks just as they did back in the 1970s. Shame the prices aren’t the same of course!

Did you ever buy drinks on board flights from the inflight bar back in the day? Do you still? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Daniel Tanner on via Wikimedia Commons.
Menu image by Ikara on Australian Frequent Flyer.

By: The Flight Detective
Title: What could you order from Ansett Airlines’ inflight bar in the early 1970s?
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Published Date: Thu, 19 Nov 2020 15:03:14 +0000

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These Shrimp Leave the Safety of Water and Walk on Land. But Why?




The shrimp stop swimming at dusk and gather near the river’s edge. After sunset, they begin to climb out of the water. Then they march. All night long, the inch-long crustaceans parade along the rocks.

The parading shrimp of northeastern Thailand have inspired legends, dances and even a statue. (Locals also eat them.) During the rainy season, between late August and early October, tourists crowd the riverbanks with flashlights to watch the shrimp walk.

Watcharapong Hongjamrassilp first learned about the parading shrimp, and the hundred thousand or more tourists who come each year to see them, about 20 years ago. When he started studying biology, he returned to the topic. “I realized that we know nothing about this,” he said: What species are they? Why and how do they leave the safety of the water to walk upstream on dry land? Where are they going?

Mr. Hongjamrassilp, a graduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles, decided to answer those questions himself. His findings appeared this month in the Journal of Zoology.

Working with wildlife center staff members, Mr. Hongjamrassilp staked out nine sites along a river in Thailand’s Ubon Ratchathani province. They found shrimp parading at two of the sites — a stretch of rapids, and a low dam.

The videos they recorded revealed that the shrimp paraded from sundown to sunup. They traveled up to 65 feet upstream. Some individual shrimp stayed out of the water for 10 minutes or more.

“I was so surprised,” Mr. Hongjamrassilp said, “because I never thought that a shrimp can walk that long.” Staying in the river’s splash zone may help them keep their gills wet, so they can keep taking in oxygen. He also observed that the shells of the shrimp seem to trap a little water around their gills, like a reverse dive helmet.

DNA analysis from captured shrimp showed that nearly all belonged to the species Macrobrachium dienbienphuense, part of a genus of shrimp that live mostly or fully in freshwater. Many Macrobrachiumspecies spend part of their lives migrating upstream to their preferred habitats.

Most parading shrimp that Mr. Hongjamrassilp captured were young. Observations and lab experiments showed that these shrimp probably leave the water when the flow becomes too strong for them. Larger adult shrimp can handle a stronger current without washing away, so they’re less likely to leave the water.

Walking on land is dangerous for the little shrimp, even under cover of darkness. Predators including frogs, snakes and large spiders lurk nearby, Mr. Hongjamrassilp says. “Literally, they wait to eat them along the river.”

And the shrimp can survive on land for only so long. If the parading crustaceans lose their way, they may dry out and die before they get back to the river. A few times, Mr. Hongjamrassilp came across groups of lost shrimp dead on the rocks, their once-translucent bodies baked pink.

Yet most navigate upstream successfully, and scientists have spotted other freshwater shrimp around the world performing similar feats, scaling dams and even climbing waterfalls.

Leaving the water when the swimming gets tough may have helped these animals spread to new habitats over their evolutionary history, Mr. Hongjamrassilp said. Today, the number of parading shrimp in Thailand seems to be declining. He thinks tourist activity may be a factor, and learning more about the shrimp might help protect them.

The study’s authors made “some really excellent observations,” said Alan Covich, an ecologist at the University of Georgia who was not involved in the research. But understanding why the Ubon Ratchathani shrimp move upstream, and how far they travel, will require more research, he said.

“The most surprising thing to me was that it attracted so many tourists,” Dr. Covich said. He doesn’t know of any other example of people gathering to appreciate a crustacean in quite the same way.

“We have crayfish festivals, we have all kinds of things,” Dr. Covich said, “but generally it’s people eating them, not watching them move.”

By: Elizabeth Preston
Title: These Shrimp Leave the Safety of Water and Walk on Land. But Why?
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Published Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 17:02:07 +0000

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Will Aer Lingus launch transatlantic flights from Manchester?




There are reports that Aer Lingus have applied for 1,500 slots at Manchester Airport for the Summer 2021 season. This will allow the airline to base four aircraft there and service flights to the United States.

At present, there have been no press releases from the airline stating what is going on. Even so, it probably makes sense for the Irish airline to do this in the current market.

Aer Lingus And Manchester

From what is known, there will be three Airbus A321LRs and an A330 based at Manchester. These will operate non-stop services to New York JFK, Boston, Chicago and Orlando, and the season starts on 28 March 2021.

With Thomas Cook having gone out of business, there is likely space for another competitor. New York and Orlando will see competition from Virgin Atlantic, while the other two routes have no airline flying at the moment.

Aer Lingus has been connecting passengers over Dublin very successfully from the UK regions for a while now. Due to this, they will have visibility on traffic patterns, potential yields and more, making this an informed decision.

I imagine they also hope to cream off some of the connecting traffic that routes through London Heathrow on British Airways and Amsterdam on KLM among others. It would prove to be quite successful.

Transatlantic Joint Venture Approval

The US Department of Transport has tentatively given its approval for Aer Lingus to join the oneworld transatlantic joint business. This is operated by American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia and Finnair.

These airlines coordinate schedules and pricing, share revenues and expenses. For the consumer, it means more choice – those making a booking on British Airways across the Atlantic will also see options on American Airlines on the BA web site as one example.

Theoretically, it would allow people seeking flights on the British Airways web site to automatically be given options to fly non-stop with Aer Lingus, along with the Manchester-London Heathrow-US city connecting itinerary.

Whether Aer Lingus will join the oneworld alliance, even in a oneworld connect capacity remains to be seen. Frequent flyers would welcome it, especially those in Ireland.

Overall Thoughts

No doubt the boffins have been working behind the scenes to see if the business case for transatlantic flights from Manchester stack up. As things have proceeded as far as a slot application, I would guess chances are good that it will go ahead.

Either way, let’s see if this happens and if it does, whether Aer Lingus will stay for the long haul. If they can make more money elsewhere, they’ll up sticks and leave. Regardless, it is an interesting development in European aviation.

What do you think of Aer Lingus starting transatlantic services from Manchester? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

To never miss a post, follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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Featured image by N509FZ via Wikimedia Commons.
Aer Lingus A321neo LR by Pitmanaaron via Wikimedia Commons.
Business class cabin via One Mile At A Time.

By: The Flight Detective
Title: Will Aer Lingus launch transatlantic flights from Manchester?
Sourced From:
Published Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 18:03:48 +0000

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