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Press Room
October 20, 2005
Tall Stacks 2006

Steamboat Natchez Comes to Cincinnati
New Orleans Paddlewheeler Kicks off “River Relief Tour”

CINCINNATI - The New Orleans-based Steamboat Natchez, one of only six steam-powered paddlewheelers operating on the Mississippi today, will make her first Tall Stacks appearance at the Tall Stacks Music, Arts & Heritage Festival 2006.

Tall Stacks 2006 organizers announced today that the authentic Natchez will travel to Cincinnati for the festival Oct. 4-8, 2006, as a late addition to the event’s riverboat lineup. Part of the tight-knit riverboating community, Tall Stacks organizers reached out to the Natchez, which like other organizations in New Orleans’ devastated tourism industry was suffering after Hurricane Katrina decimated much of the city.

“We saw this as a way to help our colleagues at the Natchez to secure business in their time of need, while at the same time bringing one of America’s greatest steamboats to Tall Stacks 2006,” said Mike Smith, Executive Director of Tall Stacks Music Arts & Heritage Festival 2006.

In addition to adding the boat to the 2006 lineup, Tall Stacks is lending its website and marketing expertise to the Natchez to promote the Natchez’ upcoming Hurricane Katrina Relief Tour. Tall Stacks has agreed to sell tickets for all cities on the river relief tour through its website, and Tall Stacks staff will aid in promoting the tour. The steamboat is coming to the Port of Cincinnati for three days of cruises running from Saturday, October 29 through Monday, October 31, 2005. The Natchez will race the Belle of Cincinnati on Sunday, October 30 at 10:00 AM. She’ll then continue her fund-raising tour downriver, stopping in Louisville, Evansville, Paducah, Memphis, Natchez and Baton Rouge, before returning to New Orleans for cruises through Thanksgiving weekend.

This is a rare opportunity for those in Greater Cincinnati to see the famed Natchez, an authentic steamboat. She has not been to Cincinnati in at least two decades and rarely travels further than Baton Rouge. The Natchez is unique in its authenticity. A genuine steamboat, almost all onboard operations are done in the authentic steamboat manner – including telegraphed communications between crew members!
The Natchez is helping to draw attention to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, bring tourists back to New Orleans and show how local residents can help by taking part in the “River Relief Tour”.

“We know that the people of Cincinnati understand and appreciate the riverboats, so that is why we wanted to begin our fundraising tour in the Queen City with seven specialty cruises aboard the Natchez for local residents to enjoy,” said Gordon Stevens, president and CEO of the New Orleans Steamboat Company, which owns the Natchez.

A portion of the revenue generated by the tour will be donated to the Clinton-Bush Katrina Fund. The New Orleans Steamboat Company, which organized the tour, also hopes to revive the tourism industry in its battered city by bringing the “tastes and sounds of New Orleans” to the people and cities on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers.
The Natchez escaped to Baton Rouge before last month’s hurricane and was unharmed by Katrina’s record winds and devastating floods. Her crew was not so lucky. Four of the six captains of the Natchez lost their homes and have taken up residence on board the famous paddlewheeler.

“By buying tickets to the special Natchez cruises, Tri-State residents can support Katrina relief efforts, directly helping residents of New Orleans so hard hit by September’s hurricane,” said Smith, of the Tall Stacks Music, Arts & Heritage Festival. “We are happy and proud to help in any way we can.”

The Natchez is the ninth steamer to bear the proud name. It was her predecessor, Natchez III that raced the Robert. E. Lee in the most famous steamboat race of all time. Even today, this Natchez proudly calls itself the undisputed champion of the Mississippi, never having been beaten. Launched in 1975, it is one of only six true steam-powered sternwheelers plying the Mississippi today.

The Natchez crew is promoting this tour as a “Tramping Tour.” This name comes from the historical riverboating phrase, “TRAMP STEAMER” which is defined as a ship not operating on regular routes or schedules. Tickets for the Natchez’ current relief tour will be available Saturday on the Tall Stacks website at, or now by calling the New Orleans Steamboat Company at 800-233-2628 x 416. Tickets for the Natchez Tall Stacks 2006 cruises will be available when Tall Stacks cruise tickets go on sale November 6th.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Attached is a complete list of Natchez cruises. These are also available online at


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