Besides eating and drinking like there was no tomorrow, the girls and I didn't have any set activities to partake in while vacationing in New Orleans. While wandering the banks of the Mississippi River one afternoon we decided on a whim to make reservations to ride the Steamboat Natchez - A classic expression of America's great steamboat tradition. The daytime jazz cruise departs twice daily from the Toulouse Street Wharf at 11:30am and 2:30pm. An adult ticket will cost you $24.50 for two hours of cruising time, or $35.50 of you opt in for the creole lunch. We opted for the 2:30 - 4:30 time frame sans lunch and boarded the boat promptly at 2pm. We settled in with some Abita Beers and shortly after embarked on the mighty Mississippi adventure. They don't call this river the mighty Mississippi for nothing - the current is unbelievably strong and the width between the river banks is exceedingly vast. It is probably hard to decipher the strength of the current through photos, but it was a site to behold. *The Mississippi is the is the fourth longest river in the world and the tenth most powerful river in the world* (Just to give some perspective, thanks Wiki.)What you can easily decipher from these photographs is the murky color of the water. There's nothing traditionally beautiful about it, but in all its brownish green silt and sediment murkiness, I managed to be completely taken in.Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, amiright? It's more about appreciating the river for what it is, taking in new sights and landscapes. I appreciated that the steamboat ride offered some nice cityscape views. Partly cloudy blue skies were a clear indication of gorgeous weather. Hot and humid weather, actually, but wonderful, glorious, embraceable heat. You may recall this trip was well over three weeks ago when the sun was still a distant memory in Boston. (Pretty sure It was 40 degrees and rainy at home.)The boat in and of itself was fun to explore, we were able to check out the control room and the inner workings up close!I checked out the Bow...And the SternThere was quite a bit of activity happening on the river itself.Ships from Hong Kong and Singapore were hard at work. Note the cranes claw moving debris (?) from one ship to the other. "Little" boats chugged alongReady Reserve Force (RRF) Martime ships, The Cape Kennedy and Cape Knox are docked at one of the nearby wharfs. The banks are not the epitome of picturesque, either. Devastation from Hurricane Katrina is still felt in certain areas for sure. The Domino Sugar Corporation Refinery towers over the banks of the river. We were told this is the second largest sugar factory in the world (the first is in Brazil.) It was a little surreal, realizing that this is where our sugar comes from?!Zoom. Really? Really? It's just that, it looks a little dirty! It looks like an abandoned warehouse. Perhaps it never fully recovered from the wrath of Katrina, either :( But the city is vibrant and alive. A view of Downtown - a cable car cruising by on the left, Jackson Square on the right.
The Crescent City Connection Bridge connects the East and West banks of New Orleans. We moved towards it on the end of our journey, just as the Carnival Cruise ship (far right) was departing. It was a fascinating not to mention eye opening cruise aboard the Steamboat Natchez, one I'm thoroughly glad we got to experience. Definitely consider checking her out if you ever visit New Orleans!