Delta Queen riverboat visits Greenville - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Greenville

Delta Queen riverboat visits Greenville

GREENVILLE, Miss. (AP) - The Delta Queen, a more than

three-quarter-century-old riverboat, will be in Mississippi this

week with its sister ship, the Mississippi Queen, to kick off a

series of events commemorating the ship's possible last stop in the

Magnolia state.

The Delta Queen has been making trips on the Mississippi and

Ohio Rivers since 1948.

Former Greenville Mayor Paul Artman was set Sunday to lead the

ships' passengers on a tour of Washington County that included

visits to Leland's Kermit the Frog Museum.

"This is a chance for the Delta Queen to say 'thank you' to

communities like Greenville that have welcomed her for so many

years," the ship's historian Bill Weimuth said.

The Delta Queen hasn't been to Greenville since 2004. There was

a time when the Delta Queen and other boats like it were frequent

visitors to the city. Cruise ships used to stop in Greenville

between five and eight times a year in the early 1980s, Artman

said.

But the Delta Queen has been making fewer trips down the

Mississippi River in recent years, and this year's farewell tour,

which started in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Oct. 21, will end in New

Orleans on Nov. 7. The riverboat will visit Vicksburg and Natchez

before heading to Louisiana.

Federal law prohibits boats with wooden superstructures like the

Delta Queen's from hosting overnight passengers, out of safety

concerns.

Congress has exempted the Delta Queen from this rule for more

than 40 years, but the most recent exemption expired this year, and

it has yet to be renewed.

Supporters of the ship lament the thought that the Delta Queen

may never pass through the Delta again.

"I surely hope that it is not their last run," said Greenville

Mayor Heather McTeer Hudson. "Without a doubt, the Delta Queen

voyages down the Mississippi River are a display of Mississippi

history that spans generations."

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Information from: Delta Democrat Times, http://www.ddtonline.com

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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