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Dark past could mean bright future

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BATON ROUGE - The money troubled USS Kidd is banking on its deep and sometimes dark history to target a broader audience.

Thursday night, the Kidd's crew will host its first official adults only Twilight Tour from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  The tour will focus on the ship's more gruesome history which includes deadly details of Kamikaze planes crashing into the vessel to crew members killed by friendly fire.

"It's an adults only tour of our own for the Kidd to highlight some of the less PG material that we don't expose the kids to," ship superintendent Tim Nessmith said. "In 1944, the Kidd accidentally speared another sailor with a rod about three to four feet long.  [It] shot out of one of their line handling guns and knocked him flat to the deck and he was... harpooned like a whale."

The spark to drive more people to the ship comes as the Kidd works to clean its image.

State investigators continue to dig into the ship's past financial records and a more than $300,000 debt owed to the state still looms.

But with fresh ideas, like the Twilight Tour, the ship has surpassed the number of people who visited last year.

"You always have to reprogram, kind of, rethink things every year. Come up with new ideas and ways to do things and that's what they are doing right now. So I'm very very pleased with this new type of programming agenda," Downtown Development District Executive Director Davis Rhorer said.

The tour is $25 and includes two refreshments. The ship plans to hold the tour two Thursdays out of every month.


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