Natchez Riverboat Dinner Jazz CruiseToulouse Street Wharf – Behind Jax Brewery New Orleans, LA 70130 (504) 569-1401 www.steamboatnatchez.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Let it be known that many native New Orleanians are aware of the beauty that lives within this wonderful, beautiful, photogenic city. Taking into account the long-running advertisement, “Be a tourist in your own hometown,” I was bound for the Mississippi River and The Natchez Riverboat Dinner Jazz Cruise. It was an evening well spent! The view from the river of the city at sunset is breathtaking. As the sun goes down, the city and its skyline of lights come to life. From the many colorful lights of Harrah’s Casino to the lights of the many hotels that line the river, it is a sight to behold. The majesty of the Mighty Mississippi is a sight better seen then told and there is no better view than cruising amongst its powerful, muddy waves. Be it a birthday celebration, anniversary, reunion, or if you just want to experience life cruising on an authentic steamboat, The Natchez is the place to be. It is and has been a popular destination for locals and tourist alike. If you decide to take this venture, hourly parking is available a short walk away at the lot on Decatur Street (not included in cost of cruise ticket).
There are two ways to experience The Natchez. It can serve as a dinner buffet (lunch and a Sunday Jazz Brunch are also available), or you can just board to take in the atmosphere, scenic view from the deck and the wonderful music of a Grammy nominated authentic jazz band, the Dukes of Dixieland. The sights and sounds package is at a cheaper price of $43.00 for adults (children 6-12 are $21.50 and 2-5) are free. This is an ideal choice for families who are traveling on a budget. Payment is accepted in all forms from traveler’s checks to credit cards. My partner and I decided to splurge and take in the dinner buffet, sights along the river, and the sounds of the Dukes of Dixieland. At a price of $72.50 for adults (children 6-12 are $34.00 and children 2-5 are $14.00), a buffet of regional food was served piping hot. It included a green salad, dark roux file gumbo with shrimp, Andouille sausage and chicken, Louisiana style fried catfish, pork lion with Creole mustard sauce, maque choux (a Cajun dish of deep roasted corn and tomatoes, creole spices, peppers and celery), creole creamed spinach, and to top it off, bread pudding deliciously complimented with a Jim Beam bourbon sauce. No meal is complete in New Orleans without French bread and French Market coffee, and this buffet is no exception. There is also bottomless unsweetened tea to quench your thirst if you prefer not to purchase the alcoholic beverages and sodas available at the well-stocked bar on board. I found the wait staff to be very friendly and courtesy. Many held conversations with the tourists regarding suggestions on attractions to visit before leaving the city.
If your plans are to attend the dinner cruise, note that there are two seatings. You are given the choice of a 7:00 p.m. seating or a 9:00 p.m. seating. The riverboat boards at 6:00 p.m. and cruises promptly at 7:00 p.m., so make sure you are on time. There is a lot to take in at The Jax Brewery if you would like to go down to this area early to ascertain you arrive on time. If you decide not to purchase the dinner, lunch or brunch on The Natchez, there are loads of places around to catch a quick bite. Shopping is also plentiful in this area. The city’s first H&M Store opened recently and I hear bargains are plentiful. Tickets for The Natchez can be purchased in advance online or you can take a chance if it’s a last minute decision and purchase them dockside at the Lighthouse ticket office if spaces are still available. It is recommended that groups of 10 or more make reservations to make sure they are accommodated and to receive a special group rate. There is a package deal with Gray Line Tours which also includes a city tour for the cost of $102.00 and $49.00 for children 6-12. We opted for the second seating of 9:00 p.m. so that we can take in the sights along the river in daylight. We were also able to view the magnificent sunset with this choice. Make sure to have your camera ready because the best view of The St. Louis Cathedral can be seen from the river’s view from the left side of the boat. The captain will point out locations and bits of historical information to you as you cruise along the river over the loud speakers. It’s a good idea to take along a sweater or jacket.Some may find the breeze from the river to be a bit cool. You can always revert to inside quarters, but it is better to experience the ride and view from the deck. There will also be Natchez employed photographers on board to capture you on your cruise. The photos will be made available to you when you debark. If you are not ready to purchase, you will be given a card with information instructing you on how to view and purchase your photos online at a later time.
The Natchez has a wonderful informative website (www.steamboatnatchez.com) that answers many of the questions you may have regarding in climate weather to reservations and discounts. The Natchez Riverboat has it all! Great regional food, New Orleans jazz, and sightseeing from a picturesque vantage point, all while cruising down the river on an authentic steamboat. Wow! Because this is all obtainable in one location, Nola Roux recommends this attraction by awarding 4 fleurs-di-lis. During the cruise, make sure you take time to visit the gift shop to take home a remembrance of your time spent on the waters of the Mighty Mississippi.