Natchez to host Floozie Contest on Saturday

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 30, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; If you have ever dreamed of sowing your wild oats or seeing scenes from the past, Saturday may be your day.

The 25th annual steamboat race of the Delta Queen and the Mississippi Queen races up the Mississippi River and stops in Natchez Saturday, bringing with it the floozies &045; passengers from each of the two steam-powered, paddlewheelers dressed up like women working in the saloons of the 1800s or &uot;floozies.&uot;

&uot;A good many of the lady passengers and crew dress up as floozies,&uot; said Sharon Goodrich of the Natchez Visitor Reception Center.

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The ladies dress up in costumes of the saloon ladies of the time, many complete with feather boas and plumes in their hair and compete to be named Miss Natchez Under-the-Hill. The title scores points for the best floozie’s boat and wins her a floozie crown, bouquet of magnolias and champagne aboard the ship. This is one of many contests the passengers will compete in to win the Commodore’s Cup.

&uot;They kinda get to strut their stuff,&uot; said Delta Queen Steamboat Company public relations manager Lucette Brehm.

The contest has always been a part of the ride up the river, according to Brehm.

&uot;This has always been an event in the race, because what steamboat race would be complete without a visit to the Natchez Under-the-Hill?&uot; she said.

The public is invited to attend the contest being held in the city auditorium at 2:45 p.m.

The passengers from the ship also will tour the antebellum houses in Natchez as well as compete in the floozie contest.

These boats, which average 6 mph, mimic the first steamboat competition between the Natchez and the Rob’t E. Lee steamboats held in 1870.

Passengers left New Orleans June 26 and end their ride in St. Louis on July 7, with many stops along the way.

Not only is the floozie contest a main attraction, the steamboats coming into town is an attraction in itself. When the boats used to pulled into port, it was a big event.

&uot;It was a big social thing,&uot; Goodrich said. &uot;You can just imagine what it was like when these boats were the main commerce.&uot;

Especially when the calliope announces the boats arrival and departure, Goodrich said.

&uot;It just takes you back to the steamboat era,&uot; Goodrich said.