1988. Photograph by Michael P. Smith, used with permission.
The success of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival meant a move to larger performance sites during the 1990's, outgrowing special venues such as the riverboats. The last Jazz Fest riverboat concert took place on the President on April 29, 1988 with a bill including blues rockers Bonnie Raitt, Little Feat, and homegrown favorites, the Radiators. The concert was written up by Geoffrey Himes of the Washington Post as one of the top twenty events of the 1988 Jazz Festival. For Little Feat, this was a major reunion after a ten year hiatus, and the concert took on the trappings of a welcome home party when Bonnie Raitt jammed with the band. Today, jazz bands such as the Dukes of Dixieland can still be found performing for short cruises aboard riverboats like the Natchez, but with the growing popularity of gambling on the river, the future of music and dancing as a main attraction on the boats looks uncertain.