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Date: May 12, 2006 at 11:00:01
From: Judy Patsch, [verified user]
Subject: NATCHEZ/TALL STACKS and NOLA /Docnotes


I just spent 5 days in NOLA, using Mrs. Keyes' bedroom as my headquarters as my apartment is still being occupied. As I drove through the lower 9th, it shows almost no progress. However as I drove on St. Claude through Chalmette, there were some gas stations, bars, and a Family Dollar open. In February there was NO commerce below the Industrial Canal. So that was hopeful. Fast food places were open in the city, none in February. The A&P is now open 7AM to 8PM, and many of the businesses are opening longer now. They are not in regular hours for lack of business, but rather from lack of employees...Housing is the number one problem still. Capt. Steve Nicoulin has been able to move into the second floor of his house while the family stays in the FEMA trailer; Capt. Don is still in his trailer while working on the house... in short, there is progress throughout the area, but it is painfully slow. The NATCHEZ is still on the schedule of:Wed 2:30, Th 2:30, Fri 2:30 and 7, Sat 11:30, 2:30 and 7, and Sun 11:30 and 2:30. No trips on Mon/Tues. She has had some charters and in fact we ran an 11:30 on Tuesday with a guaranteed 200+ students and about 100 public. That was the largest crowd of my stay. Once again, I commend Mr. Bill Dow and Mr. Gordon Stevens for keeping the boat running and the crew employed. It is important to have tourist attractions open for the tourists who do come to town (The B-K house is open for tours too), and these numbers are also growing, painfully slowly. Now for some better news: the planning for the NATCHEZ' foray to TALL STACKS has begun in earnest. They have blocked off a period of 24 days for her to be out of town. At present, plans are for her to go straight up to Cincy and straight back, with no stops for excursions along the way. Now before anyone starts to complain, please keep this in mind: the boat has a minimal crew now, and this number won't increase greatly before October. There are only a couple full time F&B people, others come in for a charter on occasion, but there is no large crew to service what would be needed on these excursions. People will be brought up to Cincy for the TS trips and/or be supplied by Cincy there. The deck crew is also minimal, with captains taking turns as deck hands/watchmen. And the office staff, which is necessary for the promoting of a tramping trip, is also decimated. So while there are many of us on this .org board who are willing to help with the tramping aspect, please don't criticize the company for not doing the tramping... its easy to plan and theorize from afar, but the reality in NOLA is that getting to and from TS will be a great achievement in itself, and further planning and oh yes, $$$$$ for tramping trips isn't feasible... one last example: I will be working(volunteering) in the Gift Shop. We were discussing the various items they are planning to order. Selections have to be made with certain companies who don't require big upfront payments now. While the profit potential is great, the available funds now aren't. You can't spend what you dont' have! We're planning to keep the gift shop open throughout the day/evening, so if one takes a short harbor trip, they won't have to spend precious cruising time in the gift shop, but we'll be glad to exchange goods for cash before and after the trip! Hopefully many of the board readers/lurkers will be able to come to TS and ride the NATCHEZ. If you check the TS site, several cruises are sold out already. And one final observation on NOLA: someone apparently was putting out on the sternline telegraph that Doc was ailing - absolutely false. I saw him in his glory presiding over an exhibition of the Ray Samuels' collection at the auction house where he's been working for several years, and he wolfed down his usual 2 bowls of peanuts while awaiting our burgers and fries at Ruby Red's. So CCH is doing just fine - he was not on the DQ trip because of his involvement with cataloging the Samuels' auction pieces, not because of health problems.


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