Delta Queen could return to Mississippi River

Tuesday, November 30, 2010
The Delta Queen leaving the river front in Cape Girardeau. This is Delta Queens last visit to Cape Girardeau. (CHUCK WU)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- A longtime Minnesota congressman's loss in the general election could lead to the return of the Delta Queen steamboat's travels along the Mississippi River and its tributaries.

The Delta Queen was a river fixture for more than 80 years until it was taken off the river in 2008 after Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar cited safety concerns in not continuing to exempt the vessel from a 1966 law that prohibits wooden boats from carrying more than 50 overnight passengers.

The Delta Queen, which can carry 174 passengers, made regular stops in Cape Girardeau. Its final visit was in October 2008.

Since then, the boat has been a floating hotel in Chattanooga, Tenn. A coalition called Save the Delta Queen 2010 wants to buy the boat and says Oberstar's loss could open the door for its return to the river.

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