New river­boat set to ride Mis­sis­sippi in New Or­leans

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Valley Life - By STACEY PLAISANCE

NEW OR­LEANS — Few ex­pe­ri­ences cap­ture old New Or­leans and the Mis­sis­sippi River quite like a pad­dle­wheel river­boat com­ing round the muddy bend with its toot­ing whis­tle horn, tow­er­ing smoke stacks and wa­ter-churn­ing pro­pel­ler.

This month the first new river­boat in more than a decade is set to launch in this Louisiana port city. A plunge in tourism af­ter Hur­ri­cane Ka­t­rina in 2005 forced the New Or­leans Steam­boat Com­pany to sell off one of its two boats, but the ar­rival of the City of New Or­leans is a sign of the steadily ris­ing tide of tourists each year to this South­ern city of Mardi Gras fame.

“Peo­ple come from all over the world. It is as­ton­ish­ing. They re­ally want to see the river,” said Adri­enne Thomas, mar­ket­ing direc­tor for the com­pany, which also owns an­other river­boat, the Natchez.

A cen­tury ago, count­less pad­dle­wheel river­boats plied the Mis­sis­sippi and its trib­u­taries. To­day, New Or­leans has two: the Natchez and the Cre­ole Queen, which is op­er­ated by New Or­leans Pad­dle­wheels.

Now the city of New Or­leans is com­ing full circle, back to the state where it was built in 1991. For years it op­er­ated as a casino boat in Rock Is­land, Illi­nois, un­til the mid1990s. But af­ter that state le­gal­ized on­shore casi­nos, the boat be­came ob­so­lete.

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