Talk about a bummer, a major let down and sad story…just ask anyone who attended the recent fund-raising event at the much heralded Planet Aqua aquarium on the River Front.
It’s easy to dismiss the well-founded complaints on the basis that the construction of the aquarium is not finished (and it has a long way to go). Or that it was too early to expect to see critters there. And it was the first event at the restaurant.
Tell that to the 250 or so that paid $65 a head to attend. The only saving grace was that the event was a fundraiser for the Leadership Shreveport group of the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce. Small solace.
S.A.L.T. is the aquarium restaurant; the acronym is for Sea, Air, Land and Time. Many that attended the event left grumbling saying that S.A.L.T. stood for "Slow, Abysmal, Late, and Tiny."
Many guests left before all the food was served. Only 2 of the entries had been served by 8:15 pm for a dinner that was advertised to start at 7 p.m. The portions were small, as in teeny weeny—a 2 small leafs of lettuces being a "salad".
How 2 servers could be expected to promptly distribute the various courses to the crowd of over 200 defies logic. It was typical of the entire event.
Much like the serving crew, the 2 bars were terribly short-handed. Whether one wanted water or a alcoholic libation, wait, wait and wait was the operative word.
Since the aquarium received the bar proceeds seemingly efforts would have been made to expedite delivery of drinks. If for no other reason, prompt service may have placated the large frustrated and disappointed crowd, most of whom were seated outside in the heat.
But so much for planning and sending a good PR impression to others who may have considered having a party at the aquarium. Since the number of guests was known prior to the event, it would not have been rocket science to plan accordingly.
Tours of the unfinished but soon to be finished aquarium were also part of the "attraction" of the event. The 10 minute experience was a major disappointment. In fact it was almost comical.
Many high school science projects have more sophistication. To say that the aquarium displays were amateurish is a gross understatement.
When the construction work will be completed was a question not answered. Neither was when the aquarium will actually open.
A tour guide advised that the fish and other critters were coming from Australia and that shipment had been delayed. A newscast this week said some critters will be coming from Florida. Additionally there will be a three week transition period for the aquarium inhabitants to get acclimated to their new restrictive environment.
And to top it off, various aquarium venues were posted with "sponsorships available" postings. When asked, the tour guide admitted that sponsorship funding would not be tax deductible because Planet Aqua is a for profit entity.
So much for wishful thinking.
The Planet Aqua group is clearly over their heads in setting up their first aquarium, much less a restaurant and bar. How and when this group can get their "first child" launched is a major issue.
Add to this the management of Sci-Port by Planet Aqua and one can soon expect a major disaster on the riverfront. Who will turn out the light is yet to be decided.