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The Queen Takes Residence in Chattanooga

 
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Old 02-11-2009, 11:59 PM
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 33
Default The Queen Takes Residence in Chattanooga

Chattanooga, Feb. 11, 2009 - The Delta Queen steamed up the Tennessee River arriving in Chattanooga at 12:30 p.m. today to what could only be described as an unexpectedly small crowd. I was surprised that there weren’t any banners or other signs of welcome from the city. The Delta Queen’s own calliope provided the only fanfare for her arrival. A crowd of approximately 175 well wishers, city, county and state dignitaries and many Steamboats.org members were greeted by Harry Phillips as they crossed the stage onto the boat. The Queen was open to all for approximately one half hour after her arrival with access to the staterooms, cabins, lounges, pilot house and engine room.

Co-owner Sidney Sloane also greeted the group as did Bill Wiemuth and Toots Maloy, well- known Riverlorians. Bill also played the calliope to the delight of everyone on board. A few of the guests took a turn including one duet. Inside, the great lady was in very good condition and showed the care of many loving hands of the volunteers who rode her in from New Orleans, getting her ready for this next phase in her long life. Everyone was entertained with live banjo music and light refreshments.

The 100 invited guests and press members cruised for 45 minutes downstream and back. As the boat turned back for Ross Landing, the wind kicked up along with a rain storm, keeping the roof Captain John Dugger and deckhands quite busy.

After the cruise, I had lunch with the daughters, Sally Muse and Carolyn May, and grandchildren, Lisa and Bill Holmes, of Fred Barrows, who served as Chief Engineer of the Avalon and the Delta Queen. They reminisced about their dad and the Delta Queen, and stories of riverboat experiences and river people past were told with great relish. One story was of particular interest regarding the recent visits by Ma Greene to the Delta Queen, removing light bulbs from their sockets soon after they are replaced.

As no one wore name tags, it was difficult to spot members of SBDO but I did meet Suzanne Martinez and one or two others who said they visit on occaision. The charm of the Delta Queen and the river lifestyle have this wonderful ability to bring so many diverse people together and have in large part motivated the success and camaraderie of Steamboats.org.

Around 3:30 pm, the Delta Queen began her trip across the river to her new berth. She is moored in a beautiful park surrounded by an upscale shopping district with many foot and bike paths. Possibly due to the very high winds, her final docking appeared difficult and took a couple of hours to complete. It was reported that in mid-April, the Delta Queen will begin her service as a boutique hotel to the visitors of Chattanooga.

As I departed the levee, the sun came out and bathed the Queen in a beautiful afternoon glow. I spotted Sally Muse, sobbing openly. We discussed how much better off the Queen is in caring hands than tied to a wharf, unsupervised and uncared for. She would not be dissuaded from her melancholy farewell.

Long Live the Queen.

***************************************
I have posted 90 pictures of the day's activities at:

Delta Queen, Constellation Photo Services

Or paste this address into your browser:
=http://constellation.smugmug.com/gallery/7336813_A4uoP#P-1-20

Thanks to Andrea Adkins for assistance with the pictures and article.

Attached pictures: 1) Arrival 2) Docking Downtown to Board Guests 3) In Her New Berth
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