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Old 12-22-2009, 11:34 AM
Judy Patsch Judy Patsch is offline
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Rock Island, Illinois mile 480 UMR
Posts: 3,865
Default genteel NATCHEZ, sort of

Doc and Roddy always remarked about how much more civil the NATCHEZ passengers were compared to their BELLE and AVALON days, but there certainly were miscreants in NOLA too. The one I remember best was on a charter. It was celebrating the top Plymouth dealerships and their salesmen, and there was an open bar - obvious invitation to trouble - the tables had been moved to the sides to allow more dancing space, and near the end of the trip, one guy stood on a table and jumped out and grabbed on to a chandelier. Luckily his grip wasn't that good and he fell right away, but I was surprised he didn't rip the fixture out anyway.
In all of her 34 years, the NATCHEZ has only had one case of someone jumping overboard, and that young man unfortunately chose Algiers Bend, the deepest point of the river, in which to jump to try to swim ashore. His body was found later about 40 miles downriver.
We've probably had more trouble at the wharf than when underway, and surprisingly even that has been minimal, considering how accessible the boat is. One Easter Sunday morning I was on the main deck bow. A guy jumped onto the port side of the boat, with harbor police after him. Don Houghton took chase on the boat. I heard yells of "Stop him!", and when he rounded the corner headed right at me, I used my teaching technique(don't put your hands on a kid) and put my shoulder into the guy, knocking him against the bulkhead and down so he was apprehended quickly. When they were doing the police report with Doc, he told the Sgt. to check to see if I was injured since I was the one who slowed the crook up. Negative. Just used good teaching methods....
Don has also been involved in rescue boat missions when clowns try to swim out from the Moonwalk steps into Algiers Bend. But overall the NATCHEZ can't compete with her elder steamboat sisters in passenger horror stories.
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