As I mentioned last week, I am a big fan of birds. Before we left for our Southern excursion, I had heard about a special pack of ducks at the Peabody Hotel that swim in the hotel lobby’s fountain and are marched down a red carpet twice a day. Needless to say, this was something I had to check out. Numerous times. (Sorry, Dan!)
Each morning, at 11am, the Peabody Ducks leave their Royal Peabody Duck Palace, and arrive at a location in the lobby, where a red carpet has been laid out for them to walk down. The ducks are accompanied by their Duck Master who leads them down the carpet to John Philip Sousa's King Cotton March. The ducks climb up a carpeted staircase and dive into the fountain where they hang out until 5pm when they march back down the carpet and up the elevator to their Duck Palace. The twice-daily March of The Peabody Ducks has continued in unbroken sequence at 11am and 5pm since the tradition began in Memphis almost 70 years ago.
Why are there ducks swimming in a gorgeous hotel lobby you ask? We’re talking about the South here, so OF COURSE it involves booze. Back in the 1930s, Frank Schutt, general manager of The Peabody, and a friend, Chip Barwick, returned from a weekend hunting trip to Arkansas. The men had a little too much whiskey and thought it would be funny to place some of their live duck decoys (it was legal then for hunters to use live decoys) in the beautiful Peabody fountain. The ducks were so well received and the tradition continues today!