“Look at the choppers on that one!” One, two, four, seven, a dozen…more. Alligators three feet to six feet in length gliding along the water near the cypress knees in and out of the swamp vegetation, sunning on the bank, or just being still in the water. It is New Year’s Eve and we are in the swamps of Louisiana or at least in the swamps of the Paragon Casino Atrium Hotel.
Paragon has turned their atrium lobby into a Louisiana swamp complete with thirty juvenile alligators, cypress trees and knees, and swamp vegetation. The trees and vegetation although authentic are not real, yet the alligators are real. There are boardwalks through the swamp area with great alligator viewing. Having been in the swamps of Louisiana, Paragon does a good job of recreating the feel of the swamp environment.
Each Saturday at noon, 2pm and 6pm, the alligators are fed by Terry Rogers, Paragon’s wildlife specialist. Terry is also the owner of Bayou Pierre Alligator Park, just north of Natchitoches, LA. The Louisiana swamps are teeming with wildlife including the alligator. These quiet creatures are territorial and amazingly stealthy and quick. Spanish explorers named the alligator el lagarto, “the lizard”. Non Spanish speakers pronounced it “al-lah-gah-tuh”, which became alligator. The male alligator reaches an average of 12 feet in length and weights 350 pounds, while a female is rarely more than 10 feet long. Louisiana is the largest producer of alligator hides in the United States.
Paragon is having its own unique version of the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop. From the atrium ceiling a lighted ball will drop with an alligator on top the ball. The alligator’s mouth is open and lit bright orange. It is definitely a sight worth seeing.
Happy 2012 from the Swamps of Paragon Casino Hotel Atrium!