The Steamboat Natchez may get some company on the Mississippi River.
The New Orleans Steamboat Co., which owns and operates the Natchez, is taking steps to add a second day-cruise vessel that will operate from the Lower Bienville Street Wharf near the French Quarter.
The Port of New Orleans' Dock Board on Thursday authorized port President and CEO Gary LaGrange to extend the company's lease by 15 years. The original lease, in place since 2000, was for 30 years and will now go through 2045.
The Natchez offers daily, year-round dinner and daytime jazz cruises.
The company sought the extension to satisfy a condition from its bank to obtain financing for the purchase and refurbishment of the second vessel, port officials said.
It's unclear when the company plans on having the new vessel in the water. New Orleans Steamboat's President and CEO Gordon Stevens did not respond to a message Thursday.
"The Natchez is iconic to the city," LaGrange said.
In other matters Thursday, the Dock Board elected Michael Kearney to serve as its chairman.
Kearney, who joined the board in 2012, is president and owner of Kearney Companies, a New Orleans-based third-party logistics company.
The seven-member board also elected Robert Barkerding to serve as its vice chairman and Laney Chouest as secretary-treasurer.
“The Port of New Orleans is one of our region’s largest economic drivers and a critically important component of the global transportation network," Kearney said. "I look forward to working with the board, staff and all stakeholders so the port can continue to address its challenges and realize its unlimited potential.”