One of the defining features of New Orleans is the mighty Mississippi river, which I learned recently is the third-longest river in the world. The bend in the river next to which the city was built gives it its nickname: The Crescent City. While visiting, I decided to do one of the most touristy things I think I can think of: A riverboat tour down the Mississippi.
I learned on the boat that Natchez is the only working steamboat currently touring on the Mississippi. The Creole Queen, the counterpart to the Natchez, runs on diesel and natural gas. While on the tour, you could check out a variety of deck levels, each replete with bars and sight-seeing spots as you float down the river. There were also opportunities to visit the engine room, where you could see the steam engine in all of its glory.
The Mississippi River
The river itself was very peaceful to cruise down: We got to see some historic parks and a sugar refinery, as well as some very impressive cargo ships and barges. Around the bend, we floated gracefully over the deepest point in the river: Algiers, named after the capital of Algeria. Through the first bit of our journey, the captain provided some commentary about the sites we were passing as we sped down the river. Once we began to turn around, a small jazz band began a concert in a large ballroom on the second deck. Their upbeat melodies were pumped through the PA system, filling the entire boat with their jazzy tunes. As we began to dock and the crew started mooring the ship, the captain warned us to not be tricked by any grifters offering shoe shines. He was quite emphatic, repeating it several times. So let it be known: The shoe shiners outside the steamboat docks cannot be trusted.
Overall, it was a great experience! Super relaxing and a great way to get a brief introduction to the river, the city, and the surrounding area.