October 2009

tootscardAs the holidays creep up on us, many of us flash back to wonderful holiday memories on the river. Well, with no riverboats running this holiday season, at least you can retain a bit of that wonderful nostalgia in your Christmas cards.

A true Delta Queen legend, Karen “Toots” Maloy has developed a lovely series of handmade Delta Queen Christmas Cards. I thought these were so cute, I just had to put a link here on the blog. If you’d like to see all the available colors and variations, to visit her website, click here.

Of course, for a great holiday gift idea, don’t forget the musical CD Laura and I produced that musically chronicles the boat’s amazing history. To listen to samples of the CD, click here.

Rep. Baron Hill of Indiana

Rep. Baron Hill of Indiana

This morning, Congressman Baron Hill introduced an amendment to the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010, H.R. 3619, regarding the necessary exemption for the Delta Queen to resume cruising.  In order for the amendment to reach the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives during consideration of the larger bill, H.R. 3619, the House Rules Committee needed to find the amendment germane and in order.  Unfortunately, when the Rules Committee met this afternoon they stated that the amendment was not made in order.  In response, Hill issued the following statement:

“This decision by the Rules Committee is simply one decision.  I am going to pursue other paths for getting the necessary exemption and seeing the Delta Queen back on the Ohio River.  While I’m disappointed with the decision, I’m going to keep fighting.”

To read Congressman Hill’s press release, click here.

Special thanks to Rep. Hill for his efforts. He had stated, “My perspective on the Delta Queen and its safety has evolved significantly. After speaking with various officials and the former captain of the Delta Queen, I am convinced it should cruise again.  To that end, I have introduced this amendment with the full intent of seeing this through until the Delta Queen is back on the Ohio River.  The Delta Queen is not only historically significant, but is a job creator and economic boon to the areas along its route.”

To read his release about his support of the Delta Queen, click here.

A couple of interesting notes about the Rules Committee’s decision not to allow Rep. Hill’s amendment:

The Rules Committee is a group of 13 representatives who wield the incredible power of deciding what amendments will be allowed to be attached to legislations. Those 13 members include:

Rules Committee Members:
Chairwoman Louise M. Slaughter (New York)
James P. McGovern (Massachusetts)
David Dreier (California)
Alcee L. Hastings (Florida) 
Lincoln Diaz-Balart (Florida)
Doris O. Matsui (California)  
Pete Sessions (Texas)
Dennis Cardoza (California)   
Virginia Foxx (North Carolina) 
Michael Arcuri (New York) 
Ed Perlmutter (Colorado)
Chellie Pingree (Maine) 
Jared Polis (Colorado)

Does anyone else notice that there is not one single member of this committee from a state touched by the rivers that the Delta Queen traveled on including the Ohio, Mississippi, Tennessee or Cumberland Rivers? Isn’t that amazing? This incredible power is controlled by representative of only eight states – and no state between the Rockies and the Appalachian Mountains is representated! Interesting. If you are a Delta Queen supporter and any of these are your representatives, please communicate your strong dissappointment in their decision.

An array of other amendments were added to the bill, including a lengthy array submitted by Minnesota Congressman James Oberstar, the Chairman of the House Transportation Committee. Congressman Oberstar has repeatedly stated his opposition to the Delta Queen’s continued operation. He cites safety concerns despite much evidence to the Delta Queen’s safety. To see and learn for yourself about the Delta Queen’s safety, watch the video here. To review the ammendments added to the bill, click here.

We are thankful for Rep. Hill’s efforts on behalf of the Delta Queen. She is a National Historic Landmark and the last operating overnight steamboat in U.S. history. She deserved the opportunity to operate, keep history alive, thrill passengers, provide jobs, and generate revenue for struggling river communities.

IMG_2305Traveling from Knoxville down to Atlanta, we passed through Chattanooga and stopped by to check in on the old gal. The Delta Queen rests comfortably there at Coolidge Park and has been decorated for the autumn. The boat looks great and business is beginning to pick up. We continue to wish the best for the Delta Queen Hotel venture as they serve as the best caretakers we can realistically hope for at this time.

If you’re ever passing through the Chattanooga area, stop in for a drink or to stay the night. For their website, click here.

We met with Leah Ann Ingram, the new managing partner, and we are discussing possibilities for our eventual return to the boat to continue the Riverboat Entertainment tradition. Keep your fingers crossed!

I’m sure some of you were wondering why I have taken a bit of a hiatus from the DQ blog. Well…Laura and I got hitched on August 10! We had an incredibly beautiful wedding in the Columbia River Gorge (just can’t get too far away from a river!) and it was attended by our families and some of our dearest friends. Even some old steamboat entertainers such as Norman Bergan, Mark Cotter, Jennifer Neiderloh, Eric Hadley, Fred Bishop, Rick Lewis, Jeff Siri, Ken Anoe and Christopher Dean were on hand to witness our nuptials. We’ve been traveling ever since the wedding on a tour for Holland America that has taken us from Hawaii to England, so the first months of our wedded life have been a whirlwind. Thanks for being patient as we have taken time to catch our breath from our wonderful adventures. More Delta Queen posts to come…