Nothing but positives from Queen

Published 1:06 am Sunday, March 10, 2013

Just about a year ago, an unmistakable sound bellowed across Natchez Under-the-Hill and quickly rolled up to downtown.

The sound, familiar and yet unheard for years was a welcome guest. For many downtown businesses, the sound of the steam calliope meant one thing — money.

When the American Queen began touring the Mississippi River and stopping in Natchez, we all knew it couldn’t be anything but positive for Natchez.

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Sure, the riverboat passengers are only in Natchez for a limited time and, yes, their direct spending impact is likely only on items they can easily carry around with them.

Yet the impact is still tangible.

Although it’s difficult to know for sure that the Queen is the cause, interestingly sales tax revenues for the months in which the riverboat stopped in Natchez have been up over the previous year, the Natchez City Clerk’s office suggests.

In addition to the direct impact, imagine the number of passengers — literally hundreds with each stop — who get a taste of Natchez on their brief stop.

We may not ever know how many of those passengers decide to come back to Natchez later. Nor will we know the word-of-mouth effect these passengers will have as they tell friends and family members about their trip.

That, of course, only takes into account the passengers on the Queen. Natchez has another, secret weapon associated with the American Queen — Natchez native and nationally renowned chef Regina Charboneau created all the menus for the riverboat’s restaurant and serves as the chef de cuisine for the Queen.

We know that Charboneau is constantly promoting Natchez, and that’s the cherry on top of the great gift of the Queen’s return.