There’s something delightfully 19th century about an aquarium. Similar to zoos, botanical gardens, and natural history museums, an aquarium is as much a reminder of how much so-called civilization has changed the face of the earth as it is a monument to humankind’s achievement at acquiring knowledge of a wide and wonderful world. The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas at the end of Canal Street in New Orleans is such a place. I thoroughly enjoyed submerging myself in this world beneath the waves where America’s largest river meets a gulf, which is really an ocean, in which Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc, Columbus got lost looking for India, and the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs struck. Through it all, generations of amphibious and pelagic creatures dwelled in these waters, struggling to survive humanity’s relentless efforts at pursuing progress and prosperity, too often at the expense of our own environment. This aquarium is a splendid reminder of what we all stand lose.
[photo credit: David Martínez]