Staying with the celebrity approach, I just saw this in the news about George Clooney.
George Clooney meets with President Obama to talk about Sudan - Los Angeles Times

If anyone could pull it off, it would be him. He grew up in Augusta, KY and would have known the Delta Queen well. What's more he was a student at Northern Kentucky University in Radio/Television/Film at the same time I was Engineer of their TV Department. He might even remember me. If George doesn't pan out, there's also his dad, Nick Clooney, somewhat of a celebrity in his own right, who also lived in Augusta.