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Old 10-27-2006, 12:44 AM
Judy Patsch Judy Patsch is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Rock Island, Illinois mile 480 UMR
Posts: 3,862
Default My first trip on the PREZ

My first trip on the PRESIDENT was in May 1974 when she was still steam. I was in NOLA for the first time at the International Reading Association convention. Ginn Book Co. chartered the PREZ for an evening cruise. The next morning my colleagues were raving about the free food and drink and asked me about it. I didn't have any, as I explored every inch of that boat that was open to the public( I wasn't as bold back then). I remember standing in front of the pilothouse that whole trip, listening to the pilot on the radio. I wondered what language he was speaking, and years later found out on the NATCHEZ why I couldn't understand him - it was Capt. Sam Centanni. At that time we had just reopened trade with the Soviet Union, and I remember passing a Russian ship at a wharf, and looking up at that hammer and sickle on the smokestack... and seeing a Norwegian ship at another dock. It had been in a collision out in the Gulf and was there for repairs. It had a huge hole in its bow just above the waterline, a very eerie sight on that moonlit night. That was also the first time I had seen ocean vessels. My dad had told me it would be a strange sensation on the PREZ, since I had already been on the ADMIRAL, for they were quite similar in interior structure save for the PREZ being smaller. I never rode her again in the NOLA harbor, but I was there in May 1988 when she left Canal Street for the final time, enroute to St. Louis for the summer and then on to Casinoland. I was there when she arrived in Davenport to begin that career in April 1991 and got to take many rides in the next 10 years. And I was there on Sept. 29, 2000 when she went on her last cruise ever, out of Davenport. After her certificate of inspection ran out on April 14, 2001, I saw her many times from the Iowa shore as she was moored in the Blackhawk towing fleet in Andalusia. The last time I saw her was in November of 2003, I believe. It was shortly after she had been moved to Memphis to languish next to the DIAMOND LADY, and I met Capt. Bob Reynolds to look for her. He picked the spot right off the bat, but we couldn't get closer than a block or so. While I missed her days up here excursion boat tramping, it was a thrill to go down to our levee and look at the Davenport skyline which was graced by her presence for 10 years. A fitting place for the final operating days of a former Streckfus boat, in the Streckfus home area!
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