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Live from the Levee - Summertime in NOLA

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Old 07-09-2014, 04:08 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Rock Island, Illinois mile 480 UMR
Posts: 3,865
Default Live from the Levee - Summertime in NOLA

Actually this is live from the lobby of LeRichelieu as I wait out the daily afternoon thunderstorm here in the French Quarter. At least it held off until after the passengers from the 11:30 were off and the 2:30 passengers had boarded. So much for my golf game this afternoon though...
I arrived in town yesterday morning, just as the daily storm arrived a few hours early. Since I was going to miss the 11:30 NATCHEZ trip anyway, I stopped and loaded up pop and water for my mini-fridge. I then drove over to the Westbank and got some photo ops of the NATCHEZ as she had to hold the Point with a downbound freighter in the Bend. I drove over to the Toulouse St. Wharf, since I hadn't retrieved my bike yet, and rode the 2:30. Capt. Don Houghton was Master and Capt. Steven Nicoulin the Pilot. My first container of chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies (my gangplank boarding pass) went rather quickly. It is hard to believe that Capt. Don was a young Watchman when I started working on the NATCHEZ in 1984, and Capt. Steven wasn't yet... so I guess I'm on my third generation of pilothouse crew... after getting my room at LeRIchelieu and my bike and golf clubs from under the BK House, I headed back for the dinner cruise, which of course featured the fantastic Dukes of Dixieland. They've been the 'house' or 'boat' band for 20 years now. They have a couple of newer members whom I hadn't met, and they came up to the pilothouse to see the face that went with the voice they had been hearing do the brief narration during their break. Roddy always said the dinner trip was his favorite because it was more laid back than the day trips - how true, as we sailed upriver into the sunset with the sound of the Dukes filling the decks.
This morning was filled with errands - I finally rented a small space in a storage building for my bike and golf clubs, as they apparently are going to do work under the BK house and everything has to go. And if you are wondering, my old apartment is a mess, nothing but a storage area now, making them $0 a month, and the Foundation could use the cash. The hotshot new board member who conned them into almost doubling my rent is long gone of course. It hurts me to see the place so torn up and empty, but then I guess I need to be grateful for the 23 years I was able to have that little apartment...
As to the NATCHEZ, she is rolling along as great as ever, now in her 39th year, wow. Capt. Steve Nicoulin is the Master, Capt. Troy Delaney Pilot, and Capts. Steven Nicoulin and Don Houghton Alternate Master/Pilot. Chief Scotty Vieages reigns over the Engine Room- many don't know that he was really with the NATCHEZ from the beginning, as he was a shipyard worker at Bergeron and built the boat before coming to work on her. The 'boat' crew numbers remain the same, while the Food and Beverage staff seems to multiply like rabbits...sadly the trend on boats these days.
Here are some first pix of this NOLA trip, all taken from Algiers Point on the Westbank. The whistle was blown when they saw the container of cookies...
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