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Missing Mississippi Queen Status

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    Missing Mississippi Queen Status

    Greetings From New Orleans ,
    To hopfully clear up some questions and concerns , concerning the location and status of the Str. Mississippi Queen , well as of approximately 12:20 , this pm on the eighth of January , in the year of our Lord , 2010 , she is still laying dormant at the Perry Street Wharf in Gretna , Louisiana , on the West Bank ( Right Decending Shore ) and across from New Orleans . The only thing that I can see that is visibly changing is the overall filth that is apparently taking over the outside of this vessel . Last year , Capt. Fred Carmichael and I made an inspection of the interior spaces of the vessel and to say she was in deplorable condition is to put it quite polietely !
    So , she is still laying at the Perrry St. Wharf but her overall condition is degrading rapidly with no relief in sight . Sorry , to have to report this but that is the current state of this once proud steamer !
    Smooth Sailing !
    Ted Davisson
    Attached Files

    A sad outcome for a majestic Queen..

    I wish I had the means to buy and save this geat boat. There are so many possibilities that a person of means could do, dinner cruises or hotel. This boat was billed as the envision of Mark Twains interpretation of a riverboat. The owners who obviously dont care what happens to her, shoul at least sale her at a reasonable price that would attract a person that could get her back up and running. I wonder if she can even move under her own power now, or are the pitman arms and pistons rusted an seized to the point they would need to be rebuilt or replaced? It seems that all the Queens except the Mississippi are in good hands. If any one of them were in anger, it is the Mississippi Queen.


      If the old MQ is sold for scrap as seems imminent, are there any interests that might opt to preserve the machinery? A steam engine is an awful thing to waste...


        As I understand it, one of the MQ's problems is that she will not meet SOLAS 2012 standards.
        As for the grey look, and the mold--that's all fixable, just takes time--and some money, but I don't think as much money as has been mentioned. The big question is: What condition is the hull in? There's the big bucks question!
        David D.


          well David as much as I hate to believe it I know Capt.s Ted Davidson and Capt. Fred Carmicheal toured the boat earlier this year and from what I gathered from them the boat is beyond repair. This is especially sad for me because she was my first boat and where I had my best times on the river but knowing Ted and Fred from those days when she was only a year old and having worked with them I trust their judgement. Fred and I started out on that boat and both got license at the same time in 79 then went in different directions but they know her from when she was new so again I have confidence in what they are saying.


            MQ hull

            You asked the multi-million dollar question, David. The MQ's hull is in great need of repair. You might remember that in her last year of operation, her downbound UMR trip ended in Alton. The passengers were bussed to St. Louis. Word from the company was that there was a mechanical problem which was fixed, and the St. Louis/N.O. trip then proceeded on schedule, I think. Reality was there was a hull problem, with a stern seam. It was patched temporarily to the CG satisfaction, but with the caveat that it be permanently repaired over winter layup. It wasn't. A couple of years ago, that same area leaked again at the Perry St. wharf and emergency pumping and patching was done. I believe people who have been aboard her at Perry have posted that there are/were pumps running round the clock. Quite frankly, I'm surprised she hasn't 'accidentally' sunk there. Now I spoke only of the stern problem, chances are there are similar weaknesses elsewhere. Also, the superstructure was in need of repair - lots of rusted out areas on the decking. And this was all before her now over three years of inactivity at Perry St.



              I thought her hull was in dire shape, too. I was talking to Steven Setzer, her First Mate on the trip in November/December 2006 to Mobile and he assured me they did over $700,000.00 in work to the hull and she was dry as a bone when they laid her up at Perry Street in late December 2006. He says the hull is fine. When I mentioned the near sinking in 2007 to him he says that issue was resolved and it was a disconnection of something in her sea chest that caused it.

              That said, I have also heard from many other reliable sources she infact did and still does have hull I am passing this along as scuttlebutt and maybe just a little hope out there the MQ could make a comeback someday.

              The MQ needed alot of attention, there is no doubt in that! David is right, she wouldn't pass the SOLAS 2010 regs with the dead ended stateroom corridors. But, she could have been saved if the ill-fated renovations lead by David Giersdorf had not happened.

              There are alot of if's here....

              If the EMPRESS OF THE NORTH had not "run aground' in late March of 2007, the company would have had the ability to pull off the MQ renovations. If the end of 2007 did not result in losses because of bad management, they could hae pulled the rabbit out of the hat then for the MQ. If they didn't totally give up in 2008 they could have listened to the river people they were paying to run things and fixed it up then. The fact is once the EON ran aground, the MQ's fate was sealed. So was the Birds!

              David Giersdorf had a beef with the MQ. This was obvious in the way he approached her in a briefing to the crew of the DQ when we were in crew up status in 2007. He stated she needed a total gutting and basically would come out a new boat from the hull up. Even Ubberroth acted like he was going bayond the true situation and spent several minutes "cleaning things up" in his address to us. Of course, Giersdorf also told us we would most likely not be able to save the DQ, to which Ubberoth came back with a line about how much money we were spending to wine and dine political interests to make sure it didn't happen.

              From many reliable sources, and a widely knows fact, is when David Giersdorf's family started American West Steamboat Company, they patterned the operation and the boats after those of the Delta Queen Steamboat Company. While he was with Holland America Line he once publically stated his parents wanted to "buy Delta Queen Steamboat Company" as they thought their business plan with AWSCo. was better and they could fix the problems by dieselizing the boats for profits sake.

              So the fact Giersdorf was there for the end of the traditions of Delta Queen Steamboat Company don't surprise me at all. As a matter of fact, we all questioned why the name American West Steamboat Company appeared on our paychecks the first year of MAL operation. We were told American West was leading the transition to MAL and they were in charge since DQSCo. had botched things up so bad in the end. There was alot of bitterness over this name appearing on former DQSCo. people's paperwork and paychecks.

              This is all fact I have heretofore not mentioned on here. Alot was going on behind the scenes the crew saw, yet we tried hard to keep a stiff upper lip and provide the best cruise possible to our passengers. They did not need to know the turmoil. Perhaps we secretly thought things would work themselves out and we would get back to the good ol days....sadly enough, it never happened!

              The MQ situation all boils down to corporate management running a company with no regard to anything but profit. The MQ needed work back in the 90's and she never got it. All the company did was tart her up with paint and crystal chandiliers...when she needed new boilers, engine and hull work.

              That last cruise from St. Louis to nowhere and back was a nightmare...we had just gotten past the FDA cleaning for the Norovirus episode and ran into something at the Alton landing. We made repairs internally and then did cruise 2 more days till we went to Mikes Inc, a shipyard near the mouth of Wood River (little known fact....during those 2 days we were on a Capt. Gabe's Tramping Cruise and made a forray up the Illinois River about 40 miles. I woke up and couldn't determine where we were due to the numbers on the mile markers and had to bail and call the Pilothouse....they laughed at the Riverlorian who couldn't find his way home! True, I had been up the Illinois on the DQ......but I NEVER expected we'd go up the Illinois on the MQ) We were there about 24 hours. We then sailed to St. Louis where those pax went home and the new pax came aboard. Then the USCG mandated we return to Mikes for further inspection of the hull. While we were at Mikes that time we went over to the AQ (which was being refitted to become the new MAL Flagboat) and stole all the Tavern on the Green tablewear, since we were running out. Most of this ended up on the DQ the last 2 years.

              Once we left Mikes, downbound...we had divers inspect the hull EVERY stop until we arrived at the River City Casino landing in New Orleans. For reasons that were never explained to me, we did not stop at Robin Street when we returned.

              As I have said on here before, that was the saddest lay up of any of the steamboats. We literally threw the furniture off the boat into a dumpster and left her for dead. We all knew it was the end for her...we just didn't want to accept it. It was that last day we figured it out. Till then, there were dreams of the MQ and her bright future as the new luxury liner of MAL.

              Reminds me of the ending to a Walk Whitman poem...."The false promise of a new dawn usually leads to a most bloody sunset."



                OK another $1,000 question: What happened at the Auction??? Where be the Calliope?
                Oh, that's two questions, although very much related--and a third, "Why all the secrecy about the Auction or non-auction?"
                Yeah, I'm probably stirrin' the waters here--I'll get back to fixin' my house, which is today's mission.
                David D.