With its maiden voyage held a mere 30 years ago, the Paddlewheeler Creole Queen seems to break the rules of time. From its outside, the vessel looks straight out of the 1800s. A giant, 24-foot paddle wheel propels the boat up and down the Mississippi River, and its soft lighting, wrought-iron trim, and Victorian-style draperies call to mind a bygone era. Look past those features, however, and you find modern equipment. Air conditioning and heating keep things comfortable, while a fuel-efficient, diesel-electric engine would make a steam-powered vessel scream like a tea kettle with envy.
Once that engine churns to life, the paddle wheeler can take more than 800 passengers at a time on two types of tours. A Creole buffet and live music take over the interior dining rooms during the Dinner Jazz Cruise. The Chalmette Battlefield River Cruise, on the other hand, focuses on history, with the captain spinning tails of local landmarks and key events, and the passengers disembarking to explore the historic site of the 1815 Battle of New Orleans.