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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Evansville, Indiana
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    Default DIAMOND LADY status

    After Judy's post about the Creole Queen, I was unsure of the status of the Diamond Lady and after Judy said she thought it had been scrapped, I was totally bummed and did some digging. I had heard a couple of years ago that the Golden Lady was going to be scrapped. I talked to Alan Bernstein during the last part of 2007 and he said that he had been offered parts (windows, hydraulic pumps for the paddlewheel, etc.) for the Belle of Cincinnati (Emerald Lady), but had been unable to take advantage of the offer before the boat was scrapped. I was on the Diamond Lady about a year and a half ago in Memphis (McKellar Lake), where she had been fleeted for many years. The boat was in rough shape (I got a bunch of pics.), but was still salvageable. That was the last I knew of the Diamond Lady's status and I assumed she was still there.

    At the time I was on the DL, I talked to the owner of a marina there, he told me that he was originally supposed to fleet the DL many years earlier when it originally went to Memphis, but that the other fleet operator undercut him by a very small amount. He told me that he had planned to build a special mooring site for the DL and that if he had been allowed to fleet it, it would still be in the same shape it was when it came to Memphis. As it is, the other fleet operator fleeted the boat with other old boats and barges. The boat has been hit by barges being fleeted, tearing out a considerable amount of railing/stanchions on the main deck, tearing off the jockey bar behind the paddlewheel and breaking several windows.

    I called that same marina owner this morning and got an updated status on the boat. He got the contract to fleet the boat sixteen months ago and has built a dock specifically for the boat, it is safe for now. The fleet that maintained the boat previously allowed starters and some exhaust parts to be stolen. When the exhaust parts were taken, the exhaust was not sealed, which allowed river water to enter the engine room from the exhaust at the waterline. The boat sank partially, but was refloated four days later. The boat has been purchased by a group out of Pennsylvania who intend to put her back into passenger service, he could not tell me specifically who bought the boat. Right now the current owners are suing the fleet owner who allowed the parts to be stolen, thus allowing the boat to sink. As soon as the court case is settled, the owners plan to put her back into service. I know these court cases can take a long time, and plans can change as far as putting her back into service, but at least she has not been scrapped and there is a glimmer of hope for her.

  2. #2

    Default

    Capt John,

    As many on this board know, I had a fantasy of buying the GOLDEN LADY (ARGOSY V) and turning her into an overnigbht boat with prefab staterooms like a cruise ship. The look of the boat and her hollow interiors lent well to this idea...unfortunately I lacked one essential commodity to make it happen. Money!

    Dreams are the seeds of success and someday someone may make it happen...unles I win the lottery!

    Travis

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Rock Island, Illinois mile 480 UMR
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    Default

    That's good news about the DIAMOND LADY - is she still in McKellar Lake or fleeted elsewhere? I haven't seen her from the air coming and going from MEM.

  4. #4
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    Apr 2006
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    Evansville, Indiana
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    Default

    Judy, yes, the Diamond Lady is still in McKellar lake. The marina is at the upper end of the lake. The "Lucky Seven" landing barge that was used in Bettendorf and down south was fleeted with the DL in the same fleet and sunk years before the DL. The marina owner refloated it and took possession from the fleet operator several years ago. Since getting the contract to fleet the DL sixteen months ago, the DL and L7 are now together in the marina. I know that plans can go up in smoke quickly, especially in today's market, but I hope someone can make that boat run again. The Casino Rock Island is a beautiful boat, but the Diamond/Emerald/Golden were much better built boats.

    Travis, I had the same dream about the Golden Lady. I worked on all three boats, the Diamond/Emerald Lady in Iowa and the Golden (Par-a-dice) in Peoria. The Diamond has always been my favorite of the three, can't explain why. I play the Powerball and Megamillions religiously and check my tickets every drawing night, ready to make a call and buy the Diamond Lady. My dream is to operate it on the Tennessee river as a dinner/excursion boat. On special occassions we would go to Louisville/Cincinnati and have a real race with her sister...sibling rivalry. Here's hoping one of us hit it and can make it happen. If you do hit it, can I please have a job?!?

  5. #5

    Default

    Capt. John,


    Certainly you can have a job! So long as I get to be Calliope Player, Riverlorian and Chief Bottle Washer!

    I agree with you on the GOLDEN LADY...the extra length helped with the overly tall decks making the DIAMOND LADY and EMERALD LADY look shorter than they actually were. The GOLDEN LADY (PAR-A-DICE) looked more proportionate with her added length. Months ago we had a discussion on here about the "LADY" boats and I posted a picture of a boat called CITY OF NEW ORLEANS...I hypothecised the "LADY" boats were from this design. I have later learned the "LADY" boats were exactly from this design with modifications to accomodate the Casino biz. Hence the tall decks (for overhead electronics and servalance equipment), removal of the skylight trunk (to accomodate wheelchairs and mobility scooters with more ease than stairs), and enlargement of the Texas cabin (more gaming space, of course!).

    That CITY OF NEW ORLEANS was a beautiful design...SHE would have made the most beautiful overnight boat on the rivers, bar none! even the AMERICAN QUEEN would look fake next to her!

    Yeah, I can't even imagine the response you would get docking the CITY at some of the Upper Mississippi, Ohio, and Tennessee River ports. With her air clearances and folding stacks (hydraulic pilothouse, too) she would be able to go to the navigational head of the Tennessee River (Knoxville) and couple of other places the DELTA QUEEN wasn't able to go.

    Maybe someone will read this with money and invest in the idea...I'd be glad to buy a ticket from them if they did!

    Travis

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Rock Island, Illinois mile 480 UMR
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    Default City of new orleans

    The plans for this boat were unveiled at an S&D meeting by Wilbur Dow. It was to be a dinner boat, run in conjunction with the famous restaurant family of New Orleans, the Brennans. But things didn't work out and the boat never materialized, now thankfully, as the NATCHEZ is doing a fine dinner cruise business, which is necessary to her financial health with less tourists in town for the day trips.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Evansville, Indiana
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    Default

    Can someone please post a link to the discussion about the "Lady" boats? I would like to read it and see the pics of the CITY of NEW ORLEANS.

    Thanks, John

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Munich, Germany
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    Default

    Should be this thread, discussing the http://www.steamboats.org/forum/rive...lden-lady.html

    Franz

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Rock Island, Illinois mile 480 UMR
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    Default Forgotten items

    I had forgotten about this discussion re: saving some of the boats on the Red River. The MAMIE BARRETT was mentioned, and as I type, our intrepid poster Keith Norrington is paying his respects to this vessel( and perhaps 'acquiring' a souvenir or two) on his family's annual southern sojourn to Natchez and St. Francisville. I had to laugh when I saw Bob's directions to finding the DIAMOND LADY at McKellar Lake, because shortly after she was taken there in ?2002, I stopped in Memphis enroute to NOLA, picked up Bob at an office on President's Island and we proceeded to look for the DL. The first place Bob told me to turn into, and voila! There she was, across the lake out of our access. But Bob got it right on the first try... no way of keeping anything from river people!

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