Diana is a nerd, a bookworm, a feminist, and a social media junkie. She is a freelance writer and researcher and the administrator of the blog Part-Time Monster. You can follow her on Twitter @parttimemonster or find her on Facebook at facebook.com/parttimemonster. She lives in New Orleans with her son, her husband, and one very energetic terrier.
Next stop, Queen Boats!
Today’s adventure brought to you by Diana of Part Time Monster.
New Orleans sits astride the Mississippi River–and the river has been a significant part of the city’s history, literally shaping not just the geography, but the economics and the culture of the area. I’m reminded of this every day as I drive over the Crescent City Connection, the major bridge that goes from the New Orleans eastbank to its westbank, taking my son to and from his school.
But of course, the Crescent City Connection isn’t the only way to make your way from one side of the river to the other, and there are all sorts of reasons to explore the New Orleans westbank if you’re visiting (there’s a whole post in Why You Shouldn’t Only See the French Quarter While You’re in New Orleans, but that is not this post). Anyway as I say, there are all kinds of reasons to visit the other side of the city, and all sorts of ways to get see the Mississippi River in all her splendor. You can take the Crescent City Connection. There are also a few other bridges and several ferries–New Orleans has had continuous ferry service since the 1820s.
Or you can get a bit…Fancier. If you really want to see the Mississippi, you can spend some time on the river. You can take a cruise on the 1,000 passenger Creole Queen, a paddlewheeling riverboat that operates out of the Port of New Orleans. While she’s no good for a quick jaunt, and she can’t take you to the westbank (unfortunately), trips aboard the Creole Queen offer plenty of time to see the city lights from the Mississippi, and there’s dinner and jazz music to boot. The Creole Queen is built to offer the look of the classic, old-time paddlewheeler, powered by a 24 ft. paddlewheel and boasting Victorian-style interiors and balconies. But there are some notable changes—air conditioning, modern bathrooms, and a good sound-system—that passengers will certainly appreciate.
The Creole Queen offers two basic sorts of cruises, and it is also available for private rental. Alas that I cannot rent it every day. I do hate driving over bridges, and I do it so often! New Orleans Paddlewheels, Inc., who owns and operates The Creole Queen offers historical cruises once in the morning and once in the afternoon that sails to Chalmette Battlefield and back (a 3-hour trip with 1-hour on shore) with a talk hosted by a costumed reenactor that focuses on the Battle of New Orleans; there is also a nighttime dinner jazz cruise (also a 3-hour trip).
Either way you go, you should go. And laissez les bons temps rouler!