Fresh from an extensive renovation, the Carnival Triumph arrived in New Orleans on April 4.

Being the Big Easy, a celebration went along with the cruise ship’s docking at its new home base.

Carnival Cruise Line and the Port of New Orleans hosted a charity event with representatives from four local music organizations competing for $35,000 in donations to music charities.

Trumpeter/vocalist Shamarr Allen, competed on behalf of the Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong Jazz Camp; singer Robin Barnes, the Tipitina’s Foundation; saxophonist Derek Douget, The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Foundation; and Rebirth Brass Band drummer and Roots of Music co-founder Derrick Tabb participated in “minute-to-win it” games with Tipitina’s Foundation taking home first prize of $15,000. The other groups split $20,000 in runner-up contributions toward the charities each were representing.

Officials from Carnival and the Port of New Orleans also had a traditional maritime plaque exchange to commemorate the ship’s arrival. Carnival Triumph represents a 34 percent capacity increase on the line’s four- and five-day cruise program from New Orleans, a Carinval news release said. “Together with Carnival Dream, which operates year-round seven-day voyages, Carnival is expected to carry 450,000 passengers annually from the renovated Erato Street Terminal, representing the largest ever capacity commitment by a cruise line in New Orleans,” the release also said.

Carnival is the only cruise line to operate year-round from New Orleans and offers destinations in Mexico, the Caribbean and The Bahamas.

The revamped Triumph has added a Guy’s Burger Joint, developed in tandem with Food Network star Guy Fieri; poolside watering holes BlueIguana Tequila Bar and RedFrog Rum Bar, the BlueIguana Cantina Mexican eatery, cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, and Cherry On Top, a “candy and more” store.

The Triumph has more than 500 staterooms and suites with private balconies.

The ship’s itinerary includes four-day cruises to Cozumel, Mexico, departing Thursdays; and five-day sailings departing Mondays and Saturdays with stops at Cozumel and Progreso.

For more info, call (800) CARNIVAL or visit

Seniors to Chicago

There are a few seats still available on the second bus for a seniors’ trip to Chicago on July 10-16.

Trip cost is $589.

Another seniors’ trip, through Grand Circle Travel, will visit the Canadian Maritimes: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island Sept. 26-Oct. 9. Base tour is $3,195 with airfare an additional $910. If this is your first Grand Circle tour you are eligible for a $100 discount per person.

For more info on either trip, call (225) 769-5872.

Tabasco tours

The new TABASCO® Visitors Center on Avery Island is offering guided tours by curator and historian Shane Bernard.

The price for both groups and individuals is $10 per person with a $200 minimum. The $10 fee includes the TABASCO® tour. Reservations are required at least one week in advance. The guided tour will take about 60-90 minutes to complete.

For more info, call (337) 373-6139.

Shreveport celebration

The 10-day Holiday in Dixie in underway at Festival Plaza, 101 Crockett St., Shreveport.

The free community celebration runs through April 24, and features children’s activities, carnival rides, festival food and and live bands. Ark-La-Tex Ambassadors presents the event.

For more info, visit

All about plants

Biedenharn Museum & Gardens in Monroe will host its 26th Annual Garden Symposium and Plant Sale next weekend. The symposium will take place 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday and the sale is 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday.

Symposium attendees will hear from speakers including Norman Kent Johnson, a landscape architect; and Neil Odenwald, symposium founder and Frances Davidson, the gardens’ horticulturist.

Author Patty Roper will present a program on creating beautiful and fun tabletops with innovative decorating ideas and details.

Lunch is included in the registration price of $65 and symposium participants have the first opportunity to purchase plants during the sale.

For more info, call (318) 387-5281 or visit

The Biedenharn is located at 2006 Riverside Drive.

Louisiana Travels is a column about travel destinations and events in Louisiana. Email items for Louisiana Travels to or Follow Judy Bergeron on Twitter, @judybergeronbr.