RiverBarge Excursion Lines, Inc.
201 Opelouisas Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70114
For reservations, call your travel agent or 1(888) 282-1945
Fax: 504-365-0000 Email: email@example.com
Web site: www.riverbarge.com
See map of all
Other Cajun & New Orleans Favorites
Michaul's on St. Charles
840 St. Charles Ave
New Orleans, LA
"Crawfish galore and authentic Cajun music to boot.Great fun!"
"For a Truly
ROYAL Breakfast. You'll never forget this meal!"
Breakfast at Brennan's
417 Royal St
New Orleans, La
Rosewalk House B&B
320 Verret Street
Algiers Point, La 70114
"Catch the free ferry! Just blocks from the French Quarter."
Classic American Cafe and Banu Gibson's Jazz
300 Decatur St.
"Call 504-592-CLUB for the Monthly entertainment schedule."
New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau
"Our visit included four nights near the French Quarter. Every day was full!"
For the Family:
Aquarium of the America's/Entergy IMAX Theatre
#1 Canal St
New Orleans. LA
"Ocean & freshwater fish displays. We saw EVEREST at the Imax. Call for most
"Authentic Steamboat Cruise"
Toulouse Str Wharf
"Daily two hour cruises, jazz and dinner cruises."
A Cajun Man's Swamp Cruise
with Black Guidry
"Don't leave Louisiana without a swamp cruise. And this Cajun Man plays accordian,
guitar and has a singing dog named Gatorbait! Good Fun!"
Return to the Waterways
Directory for more cruise
Weeks have slipped away since returning from our
first RiverBarge Excursion, and I am still telling the stories from our
Cajun/Creole adventure. Stories about the "Grand Derangement" of Nova
Scotias Acadians in 1755 and their subsequent resettlement in the Louisiana bayous.
About Jean LaFitte, the gentleman pirate whose jewels and doubloons are remembered today
in the yellow, green and purple plastic beads which, like Christmas decorations, drape
Canal Street trees after the Mardi Gras parades. I share the foot-stompin Cajun
fiddle music of David Greeley with my fiddlin neighbor, Dan; the "hot
Jazz" of Banu Gibson with my daughter. These days, I seldom cook without checking my
new Brennans cookbook to see how I might add a touch of Cajun or Creole flavor to my
Our vehicle for exploring the Mississippi River from New Orleans to Baton Rouge, and
the Intracoastal Waterway from the Algiers Lock to Morgan City was the River Explorer.
The tow is a first-of-its-kind cruise vessel consisting of two 295 ft river barges and the
Miss Nari tow boat. Stepping into the barges was in every way identical to entering
a brand new hotel dockside. The La Salle barge contained 99 staterooms while the DeSoto
barge contained the hotel lobby, guest pilot house, galley, showroom, library, gift shop
and bar. The rooms were exceptionally spacious by riverboat standards, and each included
satellite television, VCRs, twin or super-queen sized beds, mini-refrigerator, and full
bath with tub and shower.
What we missed on first walking up the gangway was the familiar paddlewheeler motif
itself. But by the time we had been immersed in Cajun and Creole culture and food,
explored a few bayous in a pontoon boat and visited plantations dating as far back as
1792, EVERYONE agreed that we weren't even thinking paddlewheelers any more.
"It takes our paddlewheel-
experienced passengers about 24 hours to deprogram," Paul Nelson, one of
the R/B directors, suggested. "This isnt a paddlewheeler. It is most similar to
a vacation on the world's largest luxury houseboat. It's a laid-back, casual and fraternal
group. You're sure to leave with a number of new friends." It also means no dress
code for dinner, no assigned seating, and everyone is included in the shore tours at no
The river itself was the focus for R/B Chairman Eddie Conrad, the life-long riverman
and tow-boat pilot with the original vision for taking passengers out on river barges.
Designers of the River Explorer were faithful to make the river integral to life on
board. River visibility is an outstanding feature throughout the boat. The dining room,
the guest pilot house, the hallways in the public area, and especially in the staterooms
boast continuous, full-sized picture windows. The top deck offers unparalleled viewing of
the shoreline rolling along beside. And leave the Dramamine behind. Travel is silent and
smooth on the River Explorer; except for the passing of trees, its virtually
impossible to discern when the boat is moving or pulled up along shore.
Our off-boat tours included a guided pontoon
boat tour of the bayous just off the intracoastal waterway with "Black" Guidry
and his dog `Gator-bait. "Black" narrated the tour, played the accordion and
guitar, and sang "Ma Jolie Blonde" while `Gator-bait howled an accompaniment.
Barred owls and horned owls, a white-faced Ibis, little blue heron and an alligator
decorated the canal levees.
Entertainment on board was probably the least developed aspect of the
cruise we experienced. One evening with David Greeley as guest musician was outstanding.
On board River Rambles, talent show, and historical background were provided by interested
crew members. The increased emphasis on recreation rather than entertainment is reflected
in the cruise price which can run as little as $740 per person.
We found the other guests to be the same well-traveled, mostly retired
group of passengers that we enjoy so much on the steamboat cruises. Though middle-aged, we
were probably the youngest passengers on board. Because the vessel is much larger than
most river cruise boats, we never saw more than a handful of people in any one place
except during meals. The spaciousness contributed to this being an exceptionally relaxing
cruise. Barge life was comfortable, companionable and fun. Passengers were often veteran
cruisers and experiences on the Sierra Leone, the Danube, in Madagasgar, the Alaskan
waterways and the Columbia River were all dissected by the experienced travelers on board.
Margie of Manalapan, New Jersey, who was on her first river cruise was enthusiastic
about seeing the Mississippi River and Intracoastal waterways. "Ive been on
lots of luxury cruises, and this is certainly the most interesting Ive cruise
Ive ever been on."
Jackson and his wife have been on previous river cruises and he said he was pleased
that more cruise lines are re-discovering Americas inland waterways. "As I get
older, Im happy not to have to fly overseas. Our rivers offer fascinating windows
into the history and beautiful scenery that we have right here at home."
Bob signed on after he heard casual dress was the rule, with no seating assignments.
"And no tipping or shore trip fees. I really like that. I know just what the cost
will be. Its also nice to be able to sit up in the pilot house with the
Capt. Kenny Williams and pilot Joe Aucoin, like every riverman Ive ever met, were
enthusiastic about the river and the land displayed from the vantage point of the pilot
house. Guests were welcome to join them to take in the view and the banter. Joe grew up in
the Cajun area we were barging through, and his stories of "flotons" the
gelatinous soil that makes up the marshes which are home to cottonmouths, nutrias, gators
and more, added precious details and an adventurous flavor to our journey.
"The `gators dont bother you none," he declared, "except when you
get close to a nest. Then the females will run you down, so you better remember to run in
a zig zag pattern!" The River Explorer had just returned from a cruise called
"The Route of Jean Lafitte" along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. Capt. Joe was
as delighted as his passengers to have seen six pairs of rare whooping cranes from the
A fact of life when river-boating (or barging) is that one travels at the pleasure of
the river. High water under the bridge at St. Louis might result in the riverboat cruising
the Tennessee River when passengers expected to be cruising the Mississippi River! I have
cruised the lower river when I expected to be on my way to St. Paul. This, we learned,
also holds true on the Intracoastal Waterway. High or low water may mean changes in
itineraries because the boat risks grounding or can no longer fit beneath a bridge. In our
case high water meant we couldnt squeeze under the bridge to enter the Atchafalaya
Basin. So the swamp portion of the trip was cut
short and we spent a little more time among the ocean-going ships between Baton Rouge and
An extra evening in New Orleans allowed us to enjoy blues, jazz, and exquisite oyster
stew, Bananas Foster, or Crayfish Etouffee with our floating hotel docked just blocks from
the French Quarter.
So how does one judge a vacation? Does it spark your curiosity? Ignite your
imagination? Re-kindle a sense of adventure?
Janelle Broussard, our guide for St. Martinsville and the Teche
Bayou plantations, introduced us to the Acadian history that helped us to appreciate the
music and food we enjoyed in New Orleans. Norman Marmillion, our passionate guide at the
Laura Plantation, helped us to understand the architecture we later saw in the French
This was my first trip to New Orleans and Southern Louisianaand I
greatly enjoyed discovering a whole new culture right here on my favorite river! Could I
have discovered it without the River Explorer. Perhaps, but never as comfortably or
in such good company as I found on board the R/B River Explorer.
Other regular theme cruises offered by RiverBarge Excursions are pictured below. Click on the map to visit the Internet site for
RiverBarge Excursions at