The mighty Mississippi will soon be home to a new vessel: the Riverboat Louis Armstrong. It will be a repurposed, renovated manifestation of City of Evansville, which has been in operation on the Ohio River in Indiana since 1995. This month, she will travel to Morgan City, Louisiana to undergo its transformation into a music and entertainment venue.
The announcement was made today by Warren L. Reuther, Jr., president and CEO of Hospitality Enterprises New Orleans, which owns and operates the Paddlewheeler Creole Queen. Once the renovation process is complete, Riverboat Louis Armstrong will allow for “Jazzing on the river,” as explained by Reuther, who remembers reading about Louis Armstrong going to the river with his trumpet to hop on one of the Streckfus Steamers as a deckhand in a bygone era. As such, the new boat’s emphasis will be on jazz, but she will offer four decks of entertainment for fans of other genres including contemporary pop, classical, rhythm and blues and more.
The pièce de résistance will be a Riverboat Louis Armstrong Foundation Room on the third level with Satchmo memorabilia on display. Visitors will learn about his life and career through his music and the instruments he played, right here in his hometown.
“Jazz music is such an important reason why people visit New Orleans from all over the world, and until now, there has really been no venue big enough that allows visitors to experience large scale music on the Mississippi River in downtown New Orleans. We want the Riverboat Louis Armstrong to bring the music of its soul and the vibrancy of the river region together, just as Mr. Armstrong performed on a riverboat in New Orleans,” adds Reuther.
Currently licensed for 3,000 passengers, Riverboat Louis Armstrong will serve as a platform on which to feature local and national talent, from intimate trios to popular headliners. She will be the largest riverboat in the region at 310 feet long, 70 feet wide and four decks high. Once renovations and marine inspections by the U.S. Coast Guard are complete, the Riverboat Louis Armstrong will be moored where the Paddlewheeler Creole Queen currently docks at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside and Riverwalk. The boat is projected to open for business mid-2018.