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