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    MISSISSIPPI QUEEN mermaids

    We were talking about the mermaids getting removed down at Pierre Part LA, and I thought I'd start a thread specifically about these famous/infamous ladies of the MQ...Mel, you were right about the olive coloring, I had forgotten that. I seem to only remember the gold or garish yellow. These ladies certainly got the attention, as Travis has already pointed out. They had buxom relatives at the 1984 Worlds Fair in New Orleans, which also garnered a lot of comments. Those ladies were hovering over the entrance to the grounds, which is now the site of the Hilton Hotel, Riverwalk, and the Julia Street Cruise Ship terminal. Here are some memory lane shots of the MQ ladies, sometimes referred to as Laverne and Shirley, weren't they?

    1) the first time I ever saw the MQ - on spring break in Natchez Mississippi March 1978. Capt. Jim Blum was Master.
    2) on her first UMR trip June 1979 - about 6 hours away from the power lines at Albany Illinois
    3) Don't know the year, but fairly early as she still has wooden railings, pre-Fontaine Johnson red paint fiasco, but that's another story! Taken from the I-280 bridge at the lower end of the Quad Cities harbor
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    #2
    More MQ mermaids

    1) up close and personal - no date but I think 1984
    2) from the I-280
    3) 1985 or later, after the rooms were superglued onto the Promenade Deck and she was whorified with all the red paint, especially on her stern...
    Attached Files

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      #3
      I-280 bridge

      Here is the bridge from which I've taken so many pictures over the years, the I-280. It opened about 1975 and is at the lower end of the QC harbor. Its clearance at pool stage is 62.5 ft., which made it the determining bridge in high water for many years until the new Burlington bridge was built downriver at a lower clearance. Most of the time the QUEENS passed through, the clearance was 58-60 ft., but there were several occasions when they flirted with 55 ft. Mel, I bet you stood/squatted on the pilothouse roof a time or two to check the clearance... This bridge has emergency parking lanes, which is why it was so convenient for picture taking - after all, if a steamboat is approaching, it is an emergency! The bridge was always distinctive because of its two tone paint job, chosen by the kids in the elementary school at its exit in Iowa. Unfortunately when it was repainted a couple of years ago, it was done in all blue, the standard color now due to quantity discounts.
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        #4
        Yeah Judy I never saw the Mermaids after they changed color. And yes I have touched the bottom side of the I-280 bridge a few times. And I remember the Fontaine Johnson handrail sandblasting fiasco very well and remember having to paint the metal rails red. I was mate on the DQ when Fontaine was Master a few times and I'll never forget when he "rearranged the Captains Quarters". When Capt. Blum returned from Vac. I walked up to his room with him attempting to explain that Capt. Johnson made a few changes to his room. I'll never forget the look on his face and the remark "WHO DOES HE THINK HE IS!" Bill Gatzke put it all back the way it was the next day.

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