New Orleans out of Delta Queen's picture for 2006 - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

New Orleans out of Delta Queen's picture for 2006

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Voicing concerns about the readiness to host tourists, the Delta Queen Steamboat Company says its paddle-wheelers will have little contact with New Orleans in 2006.

The 436-passenger American Queen, which operated short cruises out of New Orleans, will be docked for refurbishment.

The company's other two vessels, the 416-passenger Mississippi Queen and the historic 174-passenger Delta Queen, will sail from Baton Rouge and points north on the Mississippi River system for the rest of the year.

Normally, the boats would spend a chunk of the year steaming between New Orleans and Memphis.

Company president Bruce Nierenberg said that with hotel rooms scarce, restaurants understaffed and flights, taxi service and streetcar service limited, his company concluded that New Orleans is not properly equipped to handle guests at this point.

Nierenbert also said the company has not determined whether it will continue to keep its regional headquarters in New Orleans. The company currently has 40 to 50 people working in reservations, marine operations and hotel operations in New Orleans, compared with about 120 before the storm.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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