Laura and Bill at the piano in the Delta Queen's Orleans Room.

Well, it’s official. Laura and I will be headed back to the Delta Queen to perform for a limited engagement from November 25 through December 18. So make your plans now to come to Chattanooga to visit us and the Delta Queen. Give yourself a gift this holiday season! Make your reservations soon at www.deltaqueenhotel.com.

We will be performing in the Texas Lounge and for some holiday parties in the Orleans Room. We’ve taken the Holiday Show we wrote for the Mississippi Queen a few years ago and customized it with a special Delta Queen flair. I’ll keep you posted with more details soon.

We are so excited to be going back to the Delta Queen. Even though in the last year we have toured across the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom, the Delta Queen remains so special in our hearts and we love performing there.

Our love affair with the river, riverboats, and the Delta Queen runs very deep. After working on the riverboats for a decade, we were honored to be asked to appear as special headline entertainers for the Delta Queen’s 2008 farewell cruising season and to write a special musical show about the boat’s fascinating history. That labor of love also yielded an audio CD entitled Delta Queen: A Musical Journey which we are very proud to have recorded. You can hear track samples of that CD by clicking here. Bill also recorded an audio history of the boat entitled The Life and Times of the Steamboat Delta Queen which recounts the fascinating adventures of the boat’s dramatic career. We also coordinated a series of celebration events for every 2008 port of call to join with those cities to celebrate the Delta Queen’s career and her long history docking in those ports. Wonderful crowds gathered along the river to pay their respects. We did dozens and dozens of print, radio, and television interviews. I even shared the boat’s story on National Public Radio, CNN, and ABC television’s “Good Morning, America.” It was an amazing year. After the last cruise ended in Memphis, we rode her down to New Orleans for their tribute event and then helped to prepare her for lay-up and an uncertain future.

Us on the Delta Queen Grand Staircase

It was an incredible experience sharing the magic of river travel with the wonderful Delta Queen passengers, working with the incredible Delta Queen crew and talented entertainers. We all became a special kind of family living aboard together. Despite the heartache and sadness of that last cruising season, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

I was thrilled to hear that instead of rotting and being forgotten that the boat had been leased to serve as a hotel in Chattanooga. At least she would be cared for and open to the public. And there are few prettier places than the Tennessee River as it loops through the beautiful bluffs of downtown Chattanooga’s lovely waterfront.

I was honored be invited to accompany the Delta Queen on her final voyage as she was relocated from New Orleans to Chattanooga. It was an incredibly special and emotional experience to realize I was a part of likely the last overnight steamboat trip in American history. Videographer extraordinaire Eric Hadley (a former riverboat entertainer and cruise director turned incredible filmmaker) and I were contracted to produce a documentary film chronicling this historic journey and highlighting the history of this amazing vessel. Fellow Delta Queen historian Karen “Toots” Maloy joined us in recounting the tales of the boat’s history as we shot dozens of hours of incredible footage which Eric and I ultimately edited down into a one-hour film. It’s one of the creative projects in my life of which I am most proud. With an array of more pressing startup expenses to focus on, almost a year and a half later, Delta Queen Hotel (which owns the rights to the finished film) has yet to produce the DVD and make it available to the public. Someday!

Laura and I then were contracted by Delta Queen Hotel’s previous operator Sydney Slome to develop and provide entertainment programming for the boat’s first summer season open as the Delta Queen Hotel docked in Chattanooga. We had a wonderful four months in Chattanooga. Performing on the Delta Queen is a real thrill. Oh, to play and sing up in the Texas Lounge with that history all around you and the beautiful view of the river. Or to do our mainstage shows on that cozy wonderful stage down in that magical Orleans Room, where so much happiness has occurred, it just permeates the room! Or to do my Riverboat Gambler card magic act onboard the last operating overnight steamboat in U.S. history — it just doesn’t get much cooler than that!

And so, as you can see, our relationship with this grand old lady – the Delta Queen – is deep and rich. We love the boat, its history, its alumni crew, and its previous guests. We hope to share a bit of all of that again with you soon on the Delta Queen this holiday season. Please come and join us! We’ll see you in Chattanooga!

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