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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Not one, but two circuses arrive in New Orleans





In 2010, Travis Arbuthnot gets a fist bump from the Zing Zang Zoom Clowns of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
By Maria C. Montoya, The Times-Picayune NOLA.com
Tuesday, June 14, 2011,
I truly believe one never is too old for the circus. Each year, I get goose bumps as we wait in line to enter the New Orleans Arena.

This weekend, there's not one but two circuses to catch in New Orleans. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus runs through Sunday at the Arena, and the UniverSoul Circus, also continuing through Sunday, will offer shows at the vacant lot at Bienville Avenue and North Jefferson Davis Parkway, the site of the old Mercy Hospital parking lot.

Each time I write about attending the circus, I inevitably get emails and phone calls from folks saying the animals are treated inhumanely. I apologize in advance for upsetting you, but yes, my family still is going to the circus.

I grew up attending the Ringling shows, and, as a poor kid living in Florida, it was one of the few highlights of each year. My mother was sick and never could attend, but she always would give me $10, a lot of cash for us back then, and my circus experience was magical.

While $10 probably wouldn't buy my children a soda these days, the show is just as wonderful for us. It's two hours of no texting, bickering or singing Elmo songs. Last year, Press and Christina sat in awe, watching acrobats soar and dogs leap with their mouths wide open. No one pinched anyone, and no one cried.

It was pure bliss for me. Earlier this month, when I spoke to Ringling's ringmaster, Johnathan Lee Iverson, he said, "The circus has no age limit. ... There is no other show in entertainment that is more generationally diverse."

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