America's Largest Steamboat to Race for Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial Celebration Author Doug Brinkley to commemorate event

NEW ORLEANS (Jan. 6, 2003) - America's largest steamboat, the American Queen, returns to the country's waterways on Jan. 25, 2003, to kick off the Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial Celebration. To mark the American Queen's homecoming, she will race the reigning champion, the Natchez, in the New Orleans "Louisiana Legends Steamboat Race." With an average speed of 7 to 10 miles per hour, the 418-foot-long steamboat will face-off with the Natchez at 11:30 a.m. The race will last approximately 30 minutes.

To celebrate the bicentennial and the American Queen's legacy, author Doug Brinkley will come aboard to share stories from his latest book, "The Mississippi and the Making of a Nation: from the Louisiana Purchase to Today." The book contains firsthand research and photos taken during a cruise aboard the Delta Queen, American Queen's sister paddle wheeler, by Brinkley and his co-author, the late Stephen Ambrose. During the cruise, Brinkley will also talk about the history of the Louisiana Purchase, the Mississippi River and steamboats.

Before the race, guests will get in the Steamboatin' spirit with a dueling calliope concert. While aboard the 436-passenger American Queen, passengers will enjoy tales of America's Great Steamboat Era from "Riverlorian" Karen Maloy, and authentic Steamboatin' cuisine. After the race, passengers will cruise to Baton Rouge before returning to Robin Street Wharf in New Orleans.

"No tradition is more steeped in Americana or heavy with history than steamboat racing," said Rick Abramson, president of Delta Queen Steamboat Company. "As the Louisiana Purchase signifies America's most significant real estate transaction, the American Queen's homecoming epitomizes the authentic, all-American travel experience."

Originally launched in 1995, the American Queen cruises the inland rivers of America from New Orleans to St. Paul on the Mississippi River and as far as Pittsburgh on the Ohio River.

The American Queen returns to the river following Delaware North Companies' acquisition of her parent company, Delta Queen Steamboat Company, in May 2002. She now joins her sister ships, the Delta Queen and Mississippi Queen, as they cruise through America's heartland.

Often dubbed the "floating palace," the American Queen affords historic cruisers modern amenities masked in opulent Victorian decor. Travelers flock to the steamboat to discover life along the river as Mark Twain did - many of them returning again and again.

About Delta Queen Steamboat Company Delta Queen Steamboat Company is America's oldest continuously operating cruise line, offering 3- to 11-night river cruises throughout the Heartland and Old South. The company, which traces its roots to 1890, boasts authentic steam-powered paddle wheelers Delta Queen, Mississippi Queen and American Queen. These vessels cruise on the Mississippi, Ohio, Cumberland and Tennessee rivers, and on the Intracoastal Waterway in Louisiana and Texas.

Delta Queen Steamboat Company is headquartered in New Orleans, its homeport for more than 15 years. The company hosts nearly 30,000 visitors annually in New Orleans and other ports regularly visited by the steamboats.

About Delaware North Companies Delaware North Companies, Inc. is one of the world's leading hospitality and food service providers. Its family of companies includes Sportsystems, Delaware North Parks Services, CA One Services, Sportservice, Delaware North Companies International, the FleetCenter, and the newly acquired Delta Queen Steamboat Company. Delaware North is one of the largest privately held companies in the United States with more than $1.6 billion in annual revenue and 25,000 associates serving millions of customers in the United States, Canada and the Pacific Rim.

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