Tuesday, May 17, 2011
New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park Brings Trail & Rails Back To New Orleans
New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park is restoring another tradition to post-Katrina New Orleans. Trails & Rails, a nationwide program that provides onboard education for Amtrak passengers, premiered on the Sunset Limited from New Orleans to Lafayette, LA in 1994, staffed by rangers from Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. The New Orleans section of the program was discontinued after Hurricane Katrina struck south Louisiana in fall 2005.
The restored program will begin Memorial Day weekend aboard the Sunset Limited between New Orleans and Beaumont, TX. Trained onboard guides will highlight for interested riders the Mississippi River, the Huey Long Bridge, Acadiana bayou country, Cajun culture, and the newly established Atchafalaya National Heritage Area. Guides will share the history, culture, and natural wonders of these intriguing areas as the train passes through.
Trails & Rails is an innovative partnership between the National Park Service and Amtrak. The program provides rail passengers with educational opportunities that foster an appreciation of a selected region's natural and cultural heritage; it promotes National Park Service areas, and provides a value-added service to encourage train ridership. It also renews the long tradition of associating railroads with National Parks. Programs are conducted my National Park Service volunteers and Park Rangers who provide an intermittent “rolling” commentary in the Lounge Car. Trails & Rails Guides also have a variety of exhibit artifacts that relate to the route that they bring along to share with passengers. Additionally, the Guides will have various pieces of unique information about places of interest along the route. New Orleans Jazz NHP has an impressive and robust roster of experienced and talented volunteers for this program.
“Trails & Rails is a partnership between the National Park Service, Amtrak, and the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University,” said Joe Llewellyn, Assistant Superintendent for New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park. “The Sunset Limited was the pilot program for Trails & Rails, and all the partners are celebrating its return at long last. There are 28 Trails & Rails programs in the United States, from the Gulf Coast and bayous of Louisiana to the mountains of Montana, and from the coast of the Pacific Ocean to New England that grew out of the first Sunset Ltd. route.
New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park is managed by the National Park Service and tells the story of the people and places that helped shape the birth and development of jazz music and jazz culture in New Orleans. The free visitor center is located at 619 North Peters Street in the French Market of New Orleans and is open Tuesday-Sunday 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. The center features interpretive programs and weekly musical performances that are free and open to the public. Call 504-589-4841 or visit www.nps.gov/jazz for more information.