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MQ Memories

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Old 05-13-2010, 07:10 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: On the "Beautiful Ohio" at New Albany, Indiana, opposite Louisville, Kentucky
Posts: 2,078
Default MQ Memories

Since receiving Judy's call on Tuesday night with the sad news that the MISSISSIPPI QUEEN was making her final journey, I've been reflecting upon the life of the boat, digging out files and MQ mementos. It just doesn't seem "real" that a vessel I watched in all phases of her construction from pieces of gray steel to a living, breathing steamboat, has come to the end of her career and is being scrapped.

In the early summer of 1976, I was aboard the MQ for one of her first shakedown cruises in the Louisville harbor. Capt. Ernie Wagner was master with Capt. Harry Louden as pilot. John Hartford was aboard and I have a slide of him fiddling next to the "swimming pool", as it was touted in those early days. It was indeed an awesome experience to ride upon the pristine and HUGE new steamboat.

Herewith are a few images from over three decades ago. Thus far, 2010 has brought the demise of more "M" named steamboats - said to be bad luck due to it being the 13th letter of the alphabet; the MISSISSIPPI (Becky Thatcher) in February, the MAMIE BARRETT rapidly deteriorates in a Louisiana bayou -- and now the MISSISSIPPI QUEEN. Ironically, all three of these boats have their origins in Jeffersonville.

Farewell to yet another grand lady of the river.

(1 & 2) MQ Launching at Jeffboat - November 30, 1974
(3) MQ Christening - April 30, 1975 - with DELTA QUEEN, BELLE OF LOUISVILLE and JULIA BELLE SWAIN faced up to bow. Of the four steamboats in the photo, only the BELLE, the oldest of them all, continues in operation. It was a cold. gray, rainy day, but quite festive, with lots of bells, whistles, calliope music and hoopla.
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