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See Big Easy from riverboat


NEW ORLEANS—Although seeing the sights and sounds of New Orleans may be best on foot, a trip on the mighty Mississippi River provides another unique perspective of the city.

There are a number of Mississippi River and harbor cruises you can take while visiting New Orleans. Each provides something a little different, whether it's the music, the destination, the time of day or the type of ship.

The New Orleans Steamboat Co., for one, offers two riverboat cruises--the Steamboat Natchez dinner, jazz and harbor cruise and the more modern New Orleans riverboat, John James Audubon, which provides a seven-mile cruise between the Aquarium and the Audubon Zoo.

A recent two-hour harbor cruise aboard the Steamboat Natchez--the only steamboat in New Orleans--began with a live steam calliope concert before boarding. On board you can tour the steam engine room, enjoy an optional Creole lunch or just sit back, relax and enjoy the live narration of all the highlights of one of the world's most active ports.

The harbor tour also provides an in-person perspective of Hurricane Katrina as it cruises past the Lower Ninth Ward and St. Bernard Parish, two areas devastated by breached levees as a result of the storm. It was in this area on the Mississippi River where some of the dramatic rescues of residents stranded on their roofs took place.

The two-hour harbor cruise departs from the Toulouse Street Wharf across from Jackson Square at 11:30 a.m. Friday through Sunday and at 2:30 p.m. seven days a week. Tickets for the cruise cost $19.50, while the cruise and lunch cost $29.50.

For reservations and more information about cruises offered by the New Orleans Steamboat Co., visit its Web site at

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