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Musical charity event starts Carnival Triumph's New Orleans service on a high note

Singer Robin Barnes won $15,000 for Tipitina's Foundation. She's pictured with Port of New Orleans chief Gary LaGrange, left, and Carnival vp Carlos Torres de Navarra (Photo: Carnival Cruise Line)
Carnival Triumph's repositioning to the Port of New Orleans Monday was highlighted by an event with representatives from four local music organizations competing for $35,000 in donations to music charities.

Trumpeter/vocalist Shamarr Allen, competing on behalf of the Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong Jazz Camp; singer Robin Barnes, competing for the Tipitina's Foundation; saxophonist Derek Douget, representing The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Foundation; and Rebirth Brass Band drummer and Roots of Music co-founder Derrick Tabb participated in a series of humorous 'minute-to-win-it' games.

Tipitina’s Foundation bagged the first prize of $15,000. The others split $20,000 in runner-up contributions toward the charities each represented.

Officials from Carnival Cruise Line, including Carnival Triumph Capt. Alessandro Iemmi, vp commercial port operations Carlos Torres de Navarra and vp field sales Mike Julius, along with Port of New Orleans president and ceo Gary LaGrange, took part in a maritime plaque exchange.

Carnival Triumph represents a 34% capacity increase on the line’s four- and five-day cruise program from New Orleans. 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, the largest commitment by a cruise line in New Orleans. 

Carnival is the only operator of year-round cruises from New Orleans with destinations including Mexico, the Caribbean and the Bahamas.

Torres de Navarra called the port a 'valued partner for more than 20 years' and thanked officials, the community and travel agents for their support.

'We are elated to welcome this exciting ship which features a number of Carnival’s most popular new enhancements,' LaGrange said of Carnival Triumph.

Four-day 'long weekend' cruises will depart Thursdays and visit Cozumel, while five-day sailings sail Mondays and Saturdays to Cozumel and Progreso.