Dancefloor of the President

Riverboats and Jazz

Since the late 1940’s, when the regular excursion trade died out, the S. S. President and similar boats such as the S.S. Natchez have continued the tradition of music on the river so often associated with New Orleans. Passenger capacity of 3,100 has made this riverboat an attractive “medium-sized” venue for concerts and other special events, and over the years many of New Orleans’ best jazz groups have been showcased on board, including Johnny Wiggs, the Crawford-Ferguson Night Owls, the Dutch Andrus Orchestra, and many others. The very first performance of the the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on April 22, 1970, for example, was a concert aboard the President, featuring Pete Fountain and Clyde Kerr and his Orchestra. The next year, Fountain again opened Jazz Fest on the boat, this time joined by Louis Cottrell’s Dixieland Jazz Band. “Jazz cruises” were an important part of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival for many years, usually filling the President to capacity.