Here’s the American Queen, docked by the New Orleans Riverwalk. I’m getting ready to board for its inaugural cruise up the Mississippi to Memphis. The return of overnight riverboat cruises to the Mississippi is a big deal for cities all along the river where the boat will make port calls, as merchants expect passengers will inject money into the local economies. Last night, I went to the Carousel Bar in the Monteleone Hotel in the French Quarter and found local residents talking about seeing the boat on the river in the last week or so and wondering when its official launch would be. Launches, maiden voyages and inaugural cruises are sort of like politicians declaring their interest, their exploratory committees and their candidacy – it’s hard to define which is which and when one becomes the next. The christening of the American Queen will be at the end of this cruise in Memphis on Aug. 27.