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DQ "Ghost Trip" Oak Alley - New Oreleans

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Old 11-09-2008, 12:18 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 135
Default DQ "Ghost Trip" Oak Alley - New Oreleans

I was able to follow the DQ on its “last run” from Oak Alley to New Orleans on Thursday, November 6. With the help of some maps and a bit of early morning scouting I was found over a dozen good places to watch her pass. What was unusual, at least to me, was the lack of people watching from the bank as she made her way downriver. When railroads ferry their steam locomotives (even when these are not publicly announced moves) between locations the word seems to get out and every crossing and station is filled with onlookers. In this case the DQ seemed like a ghost trip…no one onboard waving to those gathered on the riverbanks, and at the same time, no one watching it sail past. The empty rocking chairs and deck swings seemed to move in the breeze, but no one was there to enjoy the ride. Even the arrival at New Orleans was without any fanfare at all. Just a few greeters found their way to the pier, and a dozen or so onlookers were seen on the balcony of the Riverwalk Mall stores. No band, no official welcome, no press, no TV, it seemed surreal.

During her last voyage captains from many passing tows could be overheard on the radio giving a greeting and asking to “hear the whistle one more time”. The DQ captain would return the greeting, usually being on first name basis, and giving the DQ’s whistle another workout. The most unusual request was made by the foreman of the crew working under the Huey P. Long Bridge approaching New Orleans. They requested a blast from the whistle as the boat went under the bridge, and the DQ complied with a long, throaty sound that echoed off the bridge bottom.

The calliope could be head as the DQ went past the moored (and looking forlorn) MQ and under the twin bridges approaching Riverfront Pier in New Orleans. As if on cue and a final farewell the setting sun came out from behind the clouds, coating the DQ with a glint of full light. She then made a big, sweeping turn, approached the pier, and then the crew tied her up for one last time. A few preparations were being made for a grand party that night, but it was sad that virtually so few witnessed the final arrival. Of course, by now, all the “grand farewells” had been given at each port, but it was still disheartening to see so few down at the riverfront.

I’ve compressed a few of the photos taken along the route. Hope you enjoy.

I am on a slow internet line for a few days, so hope this works.

First batch (3)
DQ and AQ at Oak Alley. The DQ departed with a rousing round of Calliope music and a few whistles, then made a big turn and headed downriver to New Orleans.
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