Save the Delta Queen: A private initiative to save the steamboat Delta Queen A private initiative to save the steamboat Delta Queen
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Delta Queen goes to Chattanooga, for now

Jan 27, 2009

Ambassadors International today announced that the Delta Queen will be leased to Chattanooga, TN, to operate as a floating hotel there.

Our mission is clear: We’ll continue to fight for the exemption so the Delta Queen eventually will be able to run as an overnight passenger vessel again as soon as possible. Ambassadors International says in the press release that they "will also continue pursuing a congressional exemption for the 82-year old vessel" and that they consider Chattanooga as a temporary place the the Delta Queen.

It seams to be a good thing that the Delta Queen is being taken care of at Chattanooga instead of laying on idle at New Orleans where she’s exposed to potential thiefs and vandals. Also, the Delta Queen will be accessible for visitors at Chattanooga and the press release also mentiones visitor tours, so there might be a great chance to see places like the engine room which never has been accessible to visitors or even passengers while she was operating as a cruise vessel.

The Delta Queen Nominated as One of America’s Most Endangered Historic Places

Jan 13, 2009

The Delta Queen has been nominated for inclusion on the National Trust for Preservation’s 2009 list of America’s Most Endangered Historic Places. The nomination was submitted in December by noted Kentucky preservationist and longtime Trust member Donald E. Clare, Jr.

Whether you are a member of the Trust or not, please contact them, by phone, fax, letter, or email to second Don’s nomination. You don’t need to go into detail. A simple "Please include the Delta Queen on your 2009 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places" will do the job.

National Trust for Historic Preservation
Communications Office/11 Most Endangered
1785 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202-588-6141
Fax: 202-588-6038


And here’s where you can learn more about the 11 Most Endangered List:

About the Delta Queen

The Delta Queen is the last traditional steamboat carrying overnight passengers on America’s inland waterways. For that reason, she has been designated a National Historic Landmark.

Vicki Webster, leader of the grassroots Save the Delta Queen Campaign, said, “We are still hopeful that the President will act to save this literally unique and irreplaceable part of our history. If he does not, we will continue our efforts on the legislative front when the 111th Congress convenes in January. In 1970, the only other time we had difficulty renewing the exemption, the Trust’s then-president James Biddle played a crucial role in our victory. We are counting on the Trust to come to our aid once again.”

Mr. Biddle was also the key player behind the boat’s 1970 inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. It was a joint designation by the Department of the Interior and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This is an excerpt from the Trust’s announcement of the listing: The Delta Queen is the last survivor of a once thriving fleet of steam paddleboats plying the inland waters of the United States, and deserves to, indeed, must survive as a living reminder of an important era of America history. . . . The loss of the Delta Queen as an operating vessel carrying overnight passengers on the Mississippi and its tributaries would be an irreplaceable one and would remove the last remaining link with the steam-boating tradition of nineteenth and early twentieth century America.

President Bush, please save the Delta Queen!

Dec 14, 2008

As many of you know, House Minority Leader John Boehner, Representatives Steve Chabot (R-OH), Geoff Davis (R-KY), and Jean Schmidt (R-OH) have sent the attached letter to President Bush, asking him to issue an Executive Order continuing the Delta Queen’s exemption from the 1966 Safety of Life at Sea Act. As many of you also know, I have gone on record numerous times as saying that the President does not have the power to overturn an Act of Congress.

That is true, but Congressman Boehner thinks that in this case we may be able to squeak by on a technicality. He is operating on the theory that, although the Constitution does not grant the President the power to overturn the law itself, there is a chance that he can order the continuation of an exemption that has been routinely granted for the past 42 years.

As of the close of business yesterday, the White House had not responded directly to the letter, but they have asked for more information about the issue.

Please contact President Bush and ask him to act on our behalf. He will be under extreme pressure from the Coast Guard bureaucracy to turn thumbs down on Congressman Boehner’s request, so please stress the Queen’s impeccable safety record (see this Delta Queen Safety fact sheet) and the fact that the Coast Guard inspectors who examine the boat six or more times each season say she is in fine shape to keep plying our waterways for many years to come. This season, the Coast Guard’s top-ranking traveling inspector, Marc Kruger, made a five-day trip on the Delta Queen and issued a positive report that is posted on the Coast Guard’s web site.

Please also contact Mrs. Bush and remind her that keeping this irreplaceable historic treasure alive would be a truly significant part of her husband’s legacy.

You can mail letters and petitions to the White House at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500. But because time is of the essence, faxes, email, or phone calls are better. Email messages should go to And here are the fax and phone numbers:

Fax: (202) 456-2461
Phone: (202) 456-1111 (comment line)
(202) 456-1414 (main switchboard)


Ohio, Kentucky Representatives request President Bush intervene to save the Delta Queen

Dec 4, 2008

Republican lawmakers yesterday (Dec 3) sent a letter to President Bush asking that he issue an executive order to protect the Delta Queen against special-interest politics that could put the historic paddlewheel ship in dry-dock.  Reps. John Boehner (R-West Chester), Steve Chabot (R-Westwood), Jean Schmidt (R-Miami Township) and Geoff Davis (R-Hebron) requested the President issue an executive order extending an exemption to the 1966 Safety at Sea Act to allow the Delta Queen to continue operating.

The full letter of John Boehner requesting President Bush’s support for the Delta Queen is available in PDF format at Rep. Boehner’s website.

The Save the Delta Queen Campaign team applauds this action and again is emphasises how important the Delta Queen is not only for so many small businesses in the communities along the rivers but also for the employees of the Delta Queen and so many jobs indirectly depending on the Delta Queen continuing to operate as an overnight passenger vessel. The Delta Queen is safe, with a perfect safety record for now more than 80 years of operations. It’s just not right to stop her for obscure reasons that do not have anthing to do with her safety.

Delta Queen, American Queen at Helena, Arkansas

Nov 4, 2008

Ken McRae from Little Rock, Arkansas, sent this beautiful picture from the Delta Queen just after passing the Helena, Arkansas, Mississippi River bridge on the evening of November 1, 2008. Doesn’t she look like a brand new vessel in this wonderful evening sunlight? Hey, Congress, she’s not ready to go, don’t you see this?

(click picture to enlarge)

From Gaylon Reasons, Tennessee, come this great shot of the Delta Queen along side the American Queen at her port stop at Helena, Arkansas, on November 1, 2008.

(click picture to enlarge)

Ken and Gaylon, thanks very much for this gorgeous pictures and for sharing them with us! I hope so much these are not some of the last pictures of the Delta Queen in operation.

Delta Queen: Memphis to New Orleans

Oct 30, 2008

Here is the official schedule for the Delta Queen for the next couple of days which might be her last active days as overnight passenger steamboat on the rivers.

Don’t forget: We are not bidding the Delta Queen goodbye. We are sending her off to rest for the winter, while we continue the fight to have her exempted once and for all from a law that never should have involved her

Delta Queen at Anderson Ferry
(click to enlarge) The picture shows the Delta Queen on the Ohio River at Anderson Ferry near Cincinnati, OH.

The Delta Queen will arrive in Memphis on Thursday, October 30, for her final visit of the 2008 season. She is scheduled to come in at 8 a.m., but most likely she will be there in the early morning hours. Majestic America Line will hold a "Farewell Tribute" ceremony from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. On Friday, October 31, at 6:00 p.m. the boat will depart Memphis for New Orleans with no passengers and only a skeleton crew onboard.

At each of five more ports along the way, the Tribute ceremony will be repeated. The grassroots Save the Delta Queen Campaign and the Mississippi Delta Grassroots Caucus urge everyone to come down to the waterfront to enjoy the boat’s legendary calliope and performances by the Delta Queen band and singers, but most importantly to rally in favor of keeping this quintessential American treasure in full operation.

The schedule is as follows:

Thursday, October 30 – Memphis, 5:00-6:00 p.m.
Saturday, November 1 – Helena, Arkansas, 4:00-5:00 p.m.
Sunday, November 2 – Greenville, Mississippi, 4:00-5:00 p.m.
Monday, November 3 – Vicksburg, Mississippi, 4:00-5:00 p.m.
Tuesday, November 4 – Natchez, Mississippi, 4:00-5:00 p.m.
Wednesday, November 5 – Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 4:00-5:00 p.m.

On Thursday, November 6, the Delta Queen will dock at Oak Alley Plantation for a private onboard ceremony. Plans are still in progress for events in New Orleans when the boat arrives there on Friday, November 7.

What some cold-hearted politicians are going to destroy

Oct 29, 2008

Photographer Ron Rack from Cincinnati has put up a website with a series of wonderful panorama photos of the Delta Queen where you can see and feel the full glory of our beloved Delta Queen. Even if you have never been on the Delta Queen before, this gives you an impression on what nasty and egomanic politicians like Rep. James Oberstar are going to destroy by refusing to let Congress even discuss an exemption for the Delta Queen on the House floor.

Be careful though if you know the Delta Queen well – these picture will propably wet your eyes from their sheer beauty and from knowing that these paroramic pictures might be the only way left to visit the Delta Queen after October 31. Don’t miss clicking on the pictures as this will give you a Quicktime or Flash animation where you can move around, zoom in and out just like you were standing right on board the Delta Queen.


Heart breaking moments at Cincinnati

Oct 22, 2008

It had been heart breaking moments when the crowd on the Cincinnati levee watched the Delta Queen lift her stage on Tuesday evening, probably for the last time in history.

Tom Schiffer and John Fryant did a great job in documenting this sad historic moment when almost 200 years of steamboat history at Cincinnati ended; at least so far. (for more pictures, see message board: Final Whistle Salute to Cincinnati)

But there is still a lot of hope that the Delta Queen will return, under her own steam. So let’s not stop fighting for saving our beloved Delta Queen but let’s do even more to stop evil politicians to play their dirty games on the Delta Queen.

heart breaking moment, Delta Queen leaving Cincinnati

Delta Queen leaving Cincinnati, a final whistle salute


Tributes to the Delta Queen: Cincinnati, Madison, Louisville

Oct 16, 2008

The Delta Queen will arrive in Cincinnati on Tuesday, October 21 for her final visit of the 2008 season. Majestic America Line will hold a "Farewell Tribute" beginning at 4:00 p.m., with their invited guests arriving between 3:00 and 3:30 p.m.

The boat is scheduled to arrive in Cincinnati at 9:00 a.m. and leave at 5:00 p.m., although most likely she will not depart until 6:00 or later. She will go upriver to Maysville, Kentucky, arriving early in the morning on Wednesday and departing at 1:00 p.m. She will then head back downriver to Madison, Indiana, where she is scheduled to arrive at 8:00 a.m. and remain until 1:00 p.m.

If you live in the Cincinnati area, or if you are a passenger arriving or departing on October 21, please come to the Public Landing with the biggest Save the Delta Queen sign you can come up with. Most likely the media will be there in the greatest concentration between 3:00 and 6:30 p.m.

If you can also get to Madison the following day (October 22), please go on over, and take as many people as possible with you.

At Louisville the staff of the Belle of Louisville and Louisville Metro Mayor Jerry Abramson will hold a party Friday, Oct. 24, to celebrate the legacy of the Delta Queen. A public ceremony will begin at 4 p.m. at the Louisville riverfront. The boat will depart Louisville at 8 p.m. Admission is free and family events will run until 11 p.m.

Not a "Good Bye"!

Remember: We are not bidding the Delta Queen goodbye. We are sending her off to rest in New Orleans for the winter while we continue the fight to have her exempted once and for all from a law that should never have involved her.

Delta Queen’s crew plea to Congress

Sep 30, 2008

Here is how you can help saving the Delta Queen – immediately and without much effort! The crew of the Delta Queen has put together a dramatic Youtube video clip asking for help saving their jobs as well as a national historic treasure, the Delta Queen.

Please, go to Youtube, watch the video there and then vote for it and leave a comment(just “Save the Delta Queen!” is okay; we need a high count of comments!) and forward it to everyone you know asking them to do the same. Please, do it NOW; we need as much impact as possible within the first 24-48 hours of this video being online to be effective!
(if you’re not a member of Youtube, please don’t hesitate to register in order to make comments and vote for the video. The Youtube membership is free and without any obligations. Please, do this for the Delta Queen! ).

Here is the link to the video at Youtube:

This is what the DQ’s crew has to say:

Please help us, the crew of the Delta Queen, save both our jobs and a national treasure!

The Delta Queen is the last traditional steamboat carrying overnight passengers on our inland waterways, an example of a time when the rivers were our highways. The steamboat is one of the most significant inventions in the history of the world, and it is an American invention. Before the power of steam was harnessed to transportation, the fastest that people could travel was the speed of a galloping horse. The arrival of the steamboat meant that not only could people and goods travel faster, so could knowledge and information. That transforms society!

The people who work on this boat are some of the finest people you could possibly meet. Many of them lost everything they had in Hurricane Katrina; the stories passengers tell of those tragic days when many staff had no idea where their family members were, yet continued to provide exemplary service, are heart-rending.  We are family on the boat—black, white, Hispanic, Asian, gay, straight—we look out for each other, and cannot bear the idea that after 81 years of service, our boat will end because of political greed!