Monday, February 23, 2015



Editor's update: The Delta Queen passed New Orleans downbound on April 5, 2015 and is presently (5/16/2015) at Houma, Louisiana undergoing renovation for service. Update 2/19/2016 as far as we know still in the yard. Update 8/23/2016: Legislation still pending in the House (H.R. 1248) and Senate (S. 1717). The Delta Queen Steamboat Company and the boat's supporters continue to lobby Congress for approval to carry passengers overnight. Update March 4, 2017 Local New Orleans TV station gave a tour of the restoration work in progress and the boat looked good. But the needed legislation has still not passed. 

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  The DELTA QUEEN , America's last wooden paddle wheel steamboat in overnight service has been idled and serving as a static sort of bed and breakfast for the last several years. According to an article by Shawn Drake writing in MARITIME MATTERS the steamer may be reentering commercial passenger service. The venerable old steamer has seen a multitude of services over her hull life that started in 1927 as a passenger and car ferry between Sacramento and San Francisco, California. She was pressed into service for the U.S. Navy as a yard ferry in San Francisco Bay during World War II then laid idle after the war. Then she was purchased by the Greene Line and towed via the Panama Canal to New Orleans refurbished and entered service in the overnight passenger trade on the Mississippi, and Ohio rivers. She changed hands and home ports on the Mississippi and Ohio a number of times since the 1940s and has endured a few periods of unemployment and under employment. The DELTA QUEEN has a superstructure made of wood which doesn't meet the modern regulations for over night passenger service. Previously the Congress had granted a special exemption based on enhanced fire detection and protection systems permitting overnight passenger service. The exemption was not renewed a few years ago when economic factors had decimated demand for services and the venerable old steamer was semi permanently moored. However, unlike some previous idle periods she was not boarded up and welcomed over night guests and consequently is in much better shape for restoration to full service. Shawn Drake has the story of her new owners and their plans as well as a short history of the boat with color photographs at MARITIME MATTERS . If you are a DELTA QUEEN or simply river history buff why not click over and have a look?


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