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``Crown Jewel'' of New Orleans Will Sparkle Once Again; Hampton's Save-A-Landmark(R) Program Set to Refurbish the Last Wooden Carousel in Louisiana to Mark 100 Years of Whirls.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A blur of brightly-colored painted horses, children laughing, memorable melodies playing in the background -- the vision of Carousel Gardens in New Orleans' City Park, the "Crown Jewel" of the city, is like a postcard from the past. In an effort to get the carousel in working condition after damage from Hurricane Katrina, on Tuesday, April 25, 2006, Hampton Hotels' Explore the Highway with Hampton(R) Save-A-Landmark program is devoting the time, resources and volunteers needed to refurbish the park and carousel -- just in time to breathe life into this magical landmark for the busy summer travel season.

Because the carousel and surrounding landscape sat in several feet of water for six weeks following the hurricane, restoration efforts include a myriad of needs -- everything from replacing the carousel's ruined platform and roof to pulling out the dead foliage and weeds and planting all new landscaping. To return the park back to its pre-hurricane state, 20 employee-volunteers from neighboring Hampton Hotel locations will provide the manpower and the resources necessary. With rolled up sleeves and a lot of supplies, volunteers will clean, paint, plant, polish and fix until the landmark is once again the sparking jewel of the city. All told, Hampton will contribute approximately 120 hours of manpower and more than $10,000 toward reviving this landmark.

"Hampton is dedicated to the communities in which their employees and guests work and live," said Judy Christa-Cathey, vice-president of brand marketing for Hampton. "As soon as we heard of the restoration efforts needed for this landmark in New Orleans, it became a priority to return the carousel to working condition. We're helping to get it back up and running for its next 100 years of operation so that it can continue to bring smiles to those fortunate enough to enjoy it."

Hampton is also assisting restoration efforts of neighbors to a hotel property in Biloxi, Mississippi, another badly devastated city. Soon, Hampton will be donating manpower and resources to refurbish the famed Biloxi Lighthouse, one of the oldest lighthouses in the country, which miraculously withstood Hurricane Katrina and has since become a symbol of strength for the community.

The impressive nearly 1,500-acre City Park where the carousel is located also boasts a miniature railroad station and Lady Bug roller coaster ride, delighting nearly 11 million visitors annually. The carousel, "born" in 1906 and featuring 54 hand-carved, colorful animals, is one of only 100 antique wooden carousels in the country and the last in Louisiana. It showcases the master craftsmanship of famed carousel carvers Charles Looff and Charles Carmel, credited with inventing the "Coney Island Style" carousel -- the magical animal creations with tossed manes, expressive eyes and postures of movement familiar today.

From helping the 80-foot Blue Whale in Catoosa, Okla. to the historical National Monument to the Forefathers in Plymouth, Mass., Hampton's Save-A-Landmark program has spent the past five years preserving historical, fun and cultural landmarks across the U.S. During this time, the program has helped research landmarks in need, promoted landmark sites and their importance, facilitated thousands of volunteer hours, donated hundreds of supplies and worked with matching grants -- all at an investment of nearly $1.5 million. Banding its hotels together in communities across the U.S., Hampton employee-volunteers provide the labor while the Hampton corporate office provides the dollars to refurbish selected sites, sometimes up to five locations per year.

Hampton(R) Hotels encourages submission of local treasures in need to its Save-A-Landmark program; nominations can be submitted online by clicking the Save-A-Landmark icon at www.hamptonlandmarks.com or by mailing recommendations c/o Save-A-Landmark to 8730 Sunset Blvd, Fifth Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

About Hampton Hotels

Hampton, which includes Hampton Inn and Hampton Inn & Suites hotels, is a mid-priced leader in the lodging segment. Hampton is part of Hilton Hotels Corporation, a leading global hospitality company with nearly 2,800 hotels and 475,000 rooms in more than 80 countries, including 150,000 team members worldwide.

The company owns, manages or franchises a hotel portfolio of some of the best known and highly regarded brands, including Hilton(R), Conrad(R), Coral by Hilton(R), Doubletree(R), Embassy Suites Hotels(R), Hampton Inn(R), Hampton Inn & Suites(R), Hilton Garden Inn(R), Hilton Grand Vacations(TM), Homewood Suites by Hilton(R), Scandic and The Waldorf=Astoria Collection(TM).

For more information, please visit www.hiltonworldwide.com.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 24, 2006
Words:731
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