Come out and make some noise as the week’s activities get underway in the streets of New Orleans. The city is ready for you, and the IEEE Power & Energy Society and our local organizing committee, the Crescent City Currents, are thrilled that you’re here to enjoy the camaraderie with your fellow utility professionals from across the globe.

The first evening of your week in the Crescent City contains all the activities and elements of enthusiasm that we hope you will realize continuously during your visit. Just read about the extravaganza we’ve got planned for you.

“Laissez-les Bon Temps Rouler” as the sirens wail and the parade begins to depart and make its way toward the Aquarium of the Americas. Mardi Gras floats, complete with revelers lead the way as attendees march to a rousing beat. Guests will enjoy experiencing the parade first-hand by throwing beads and doubloons to on-lookers who will pause to see the excitement. Then, they can take a moment to dance with a “Naturally Nawlins” Mardi Gras Indians band that will perform to a Cajun-Native American beat. As the parade continues, guests may choose to samba with Casa Samba Brazilian drums or second line with a classic New Orleans style brass band that will be bringing up the rear. A complimentary motor coach will be offered for non-walkers who still want to participate in the parade action. Once the parade reaches its destination, attendees will enjoy exclusive use of the Aquarium of the Americas.

In a city known for its mix of cultures and lifestyles, the Aquarium of the Americas stands overlooking the river that is the heart and soul of New Orleans culture. The Aquarium delights locals and visitors alike with award winning exhibits and unique architecture. The complex also includes Woldenberg Park along the riverfront, a large open air Plaza, and the Pisces Room.

The reception will take place in and around the remarkable Aquarium of the Americas. As attendees arrive for the reception, they will have an opportunity to explore all of the exhibits in this first rate aquarium. Among the stunning displays are: The Caribbean Reef, offering a tunnel for a spectacular journey through this 132,000 gallon exhibit; the Amazon Rainforest which features cascading waterfalls, rare orchids, vibrant colored macaws and red bellied piranhas; The Mississippi River Delta, which includes rare white alligators and pre-historic paddlefish, as well as a host of other aquatic species; and the Gulf of Mexico, featuring a one-quarter scale oil drilling rig surrounded by sharks, giant grouper and a 150-pound tarpon. Attendees may choose to enter the Aquarium first through the serene foyer to view the many wonderful exhibits inside. Those who wish to experience the festival first may walk to the left of the entrance where they will encounter a vibrantly lit clear top tent complete with awnings, tables and chairs. Beautiful sea-colored linens and Aquarium centerpieces will adorn each table to accent the theme.

When not enjoying delectable food and beverage selections, attendees can shake it to the best entertainment that New Orleans has offer. Attendees can enjoy gospel, rhythm and blues, Cajun/Sidecar, and traditional New Orleans Style Jazz at the Plaza Stage.

When not enjoying the Aquarium exhibits or the Plaza Stage, guests may wander onto the Kohlmeyer lawn to experience a New Orleans favorite: Rock n Dopsie Jr. and the Zydeco Twisters.

Also located on the Kohlmeyer Lawn will be our unique Cajun Village where attendees can experience first hand the Cajun Crab Trap maker, Quilters, Cajun Storyteller, Duck Caller and Carver, Washboard Maker, Miniature Boat Builder, Cajun House Painter and Alligator Jewelry Maker. All of these elements are combined with authentic décor to transport guests to the most remote of Southwestern Louisiana Swamps.

For those guests who want to take a break from the action happening on the outside of the Aquarium, may we suggest there is the Authentic New Orleans Style Jazz club located next to the Otter Exhibit in the Pisces Room.

And if all of this is not enough, what better way to end a fabulous evening than with fireworks? As guests exit the venue they will cast their eyes on the sky overlooking the moonlit Mississippi to view a 15-minute fireworks show that will send them on their way to reminisce about the memories of the night.