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New Orleans facility restocking



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Restocking and repairs are continuing at New Orleans' Aquarium of the Americas, which was hard-hit by Hurricane Katrina. The facility, operated by the Audubon Nature Institute, hopes to reopen next summer, said spokeswoman Melissa Lee.

The facility beside the French Quarter and the Mississippi River survived the storm with some structural damage but lost 10,000 creatures when backup generators couldn't sustain life-support in tanks. Most survivors were sent to other facilities - including the Dallas World Aquarium, Houston Zoo, Moody Gardens in Galveston and Monterey Bay Aquarium in California - for care until Aquarium of the Americas reopens.

Among the few animals able to survive in the damaged building were tarpon in the Gulf of Mexico exhibit, the white alligator and the anaconda. They were cared for by New Orleans police officers, who used the structure as a command post, and by returning staff.

Aquariums across the nation are offering specimens to New Orleans to replace its collections, Lee said.

New Orleans' Audubon Zoo, a sister facility, will be open weekends through February at regular prices.

Information on the aquarium or zoo: www.auduboninstitute.com.

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(c) 2005, The Dallas Morning News. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service.

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