The Delta Queen,an authentic paddle-wheel steamboat built in 1890, is the only one of its kind still in use. SU travelers found it very comfortable, and were intrigued by stories of a ghost on board. Mary Green, who founded the steamboat line with her husband and was herself a captain, died on board at the age of 81.
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For Andrea Latchem, the thrill was seeing history come alive. "While cruising the Mississippi on the Delta QueenI learned so much about the Civil War and that wonderful river," says SU's executive director of development for planned giving.
      It was that and more for Louis '51 and Gini Bantle of Palm Beach, Florida. "We belly-laughed for 10 days," Gini proclaims. "The people were marvelous, a cross-section of folks from across the country. When I came home, I had withdrawal symptoms for two weeks."
      The adventure the Bantles and Latchem shared began in New Orleans, where SU alumni and friends stayed in the deluxe Royal Sonesta Hotel in the French Quarter. Travelers visited the Old Ursuline Convent and the Confederate Museum, while still finding plenty of time to explore the city on their own and experience the blend of Spanish, French, African, and Creole cultures.
      Then the SU group boarded the elegantly furnished Delta Queen,an authentic paddle-wheel steamboat built in 1890. Among the 150 passengers they found congenial groups from universities in Iowa, Nebraska, and Massachusetts.
      "My husband and I had promised each other that someday we'd take a trip on the Delta Queen,"says Helen Layton Stauderman '59 of Wilton, Connecticut. She and husband Al '58 decided this was the perfect opportunity. "It's not a cruise in the accepted sense of the word," she says. "The boat was small enough so you could meet many people, but large enough so you weren't stumbling over each other. You could join in activities or simply sit in a rocking chair and watch the river flow by."
SU alumni and friends aboard the Delta Queenlearned a great deal about the Civil War, and also had time to enjoy cruising on the Mississippi River.
      Bob and Dona Harris Dales '46 of Santa Fe, New Mexico, particularly enjoyed the stops at Oak Alley Plantation, Natchez, and Baton Rouge. "I'm interested in architecture and we saw absolutely fabulous antebellum houses," Dona says. "You approach Oak Alley on a quarter-mile avenue under 250-year-old oak trees. In Natchez we visited the Octagon House, another beautiful mansion." She also was intrigued by walking on the battlefield in Vicksburg, Mississippi.
      Travelers spent an entire day at Shiloh, Tennessee, where their guide, dressed in Civil War uniform, was one of a group that re-enacts battle scenes. "That added a great dimension to what we were hearing," Latchem says. At their final stop in Memphis, the Staudermans were thrilled to hear a talk by historian and award-winning author Shelby Foote, best known for his three-volume The Civil War: A Narrative,one of the most comprehensive military histories covering both the Confederate and Union armies. "If you're interested in the Civil War, he's a benchmark," Helen says. "His style is charming. He answers questions at great length, but you don't care, because it's all fascinating."
      Latchem agrees, saying she most enjoyed learning many historical facts. "I also loved the mix of visiting with people, having time to relax, and watching the sun set from the deck of the boat," she says. "It was a wonderful experience."

The Office of Alumni Relations is looking for alumni in South Florida to get involved with the new South Florida Alumni Council. This is your chance to help plan the alumni activities that take place in this part of the state.
      A committee of the National Alumni Association Board of Directors established alumni councils in certain parts of the country to bring representation of all alumni groups in the area into one organization. The South Florida area was one of the first to be organized and now includes alumni club members, Orange Pack supporters, specialty clubs members, and alumni representatives working for the Office of Admissions.
      A year later, the results are encouraging. "Our alumni council in South Florida is moving in the right direction," says Scott Setek, associate director of alumni relations.
      He points to the fact that South Florida is broken up into Broward, Dade, and Palm Beach counties. "We have many retired alumni in those areas who are seasonal residents," Setek says. "We have representation from each of the counties on our council, which improves communication and lets people know when events are being planned."
      The first event sponsored by the council was a presentation to help high school students and their parents prepare for the college application and admissions process. Susan E. Donovan, associate dean and director of admissions, moderated a panel discussion that included a high school guidance counselor, a parent of a current SU student, and two high school students who had just completed the application process.
      The South Florida Council would love to hear from you if you have ideas or would like to get involved. Please call the Office of Alumni Relations for more information.

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