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Carnival Goes Coastal

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The Krewe of Estys, action heroes that represent America's WETLAND Campaign to Save Coastal Louisiana, will march in five New Orleans parades this year -- Endymion, Bacchus, Orpheus, Muses and Rex -- to raise awareness of Louisiana's wetland loss and its impact on the environment and the economy.

The krewe will throw 5,000 limited-edition Captain Eddy plush, stuffed toy eagles. As head of the krewe of mascots (or Estuarians) for the campaign, Captain Eddy is a symbol of the wildlife that flourishes in Louisiana's wetlands. It is the fourth year the group has paraded during Carnival.

Walter Williams, creator of Mr. Bill, designed several "wetlands heroes" for the Krewe of Estys to represent an array of coastal wildlife, including Pierre the Pelican, Reed the Reptile, Murky the Mud Cat, Mossy the Moccasin, Delta the Dolphin, Shelly the Star Fish, Rocky the Raccoon and Salty the Shrimp. The Estys reach out to children to raise environmental awareness among younger generations and to help the campaign promote wetlands conservation among local paradegoers and out-of-state visitors.

Coastal Louisiana is one of the most significant estuaries in the world, the campaign notes. The seventh-largest delta in the world, it also is America's largest wintering habitat for more than 5 million migratory waterfowl and songbirds and is home to more than 70 rare, threatened and endangered species.

Each year, the state loses 24 square miles of coastline, the equivalent of a football field every 38 minutes. South Louisiana also provides one-third of the nation's seafood and produces 30 percent of its domestic crude oil and 34 percent of its natural gas.

The America's WETLAND Campaign is supported by state, national and international conservation and environmental organizations as well as private businesses such as Shell Oil, which sponsored the production of the eagle dolls. For more information about America's WETLAND Campaign, call (866) 4-Wetland or visit www.americaswetland.com.

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