The sweltering heat and New Orleans’ city commotion can be overwhelming. However, the Steamboat Natchez provides a relaxing two-hour cruise. The calliope whistles a ragtime melody as passengers board. Steam bursts in visual rhythm to the organ’s siren song. The paddlewheel steamboat experience awaits. Everything slows to a comforting rhythm.
New Orleans and the lower Mississippi River are layers of southern history, geography, and cultural experiences. French, Spanish, Caribbean and other settlers have defined this exotic coastal city. Jackson Square, near the riverboat tour departure point, was originally the site of a small French settlement in the early 1700’s. St. Louis Cathedral stands prominently in the park as one of New Orleans’ most recognized landmark. The Central Business District (CBD), in contrast, sparkles as a modern urban center. The deck of the steamboat in the river channel is ideal for a panoramic view of the city, with views of both the modern and the historic.
The red paddlewheel churns through the muddy waters of the Mississippi River. The cruise begins.The busy port city is alive and well. Over 31 million short tons of cargo processed through the harbor in 2013. Portions of the city are below sea level, therefore requiring massive pumps and canals for drainage since average annual rainfall exceeds sixty inches. The tour reveals the port’s industrial importance and provides insight into development along this Gulf Coast shoreline.
My favorite views are near the end of the tour looking towards the Mississippi River Bridge with a backdrop of the French Quarter.
On Board Activities
There are many activities available during the tour. The daytime Harbor Jazz Cruises include a Dixieland jazz instrumental band during the buffet lunch service. This live music entertainment is available for your enjoyment even if you decline the lunch option on your admission ticket.
An experienced guide broadcasts tour information, including local history, river activity, and port statistics. A self-guided engine room museum tour teaches the basics of steam engine operations. Beyond the engine room displays, the red paddlewheel rolls the river waters. The onboard gift shop has snacks, souvenirs, books and other ship-related items.
The Mississippi River is at the heart of the existence of New Orleans. Whether you are a local or a visitor, this steamboat tour is a unique way to relax with joyful music, Southern food, and an educational tour.
If You Go
The Steamboat Natchez Lighthouse Ticket Office is easy to find in the French Quarter near Jax Brewery.
The ticket office is open 9:00 am – 7:00 pm.
Reservations can be booked online http://www.steamboatnatchez.com/reservations or at the ticket office.
Reservations by phone – (504) 569-1401 or (800) 233-2628.
Discounted tickets are available for military personnel with appropriate identification, for children, and coupons are available inside many of the local tourist publications.
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