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Live from the NOLA levee

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    Live from the NOLA levee

    Finally, back in New Orleans! I haven't been here since March. It is typical August here: sweltering humidity and heat, with afternoon thunderstorms. I arrived Monday afternoon and was able to ride the NATCHEZ dinner cruise. Its taking a little adjusting this visit, as I'm staying at a friend's condo on the other end of the FQ, but all I have to do is ride my bike straight down Toulouse to the wharf. Its nice to see the NATCHEZ pilothouse looming at the end of the trail. Today the birthday boy CCH and I are driving over to Belle River to see the MQ for ourselves. I suspect after that dismal setting we might just take the River Road back and stop at The Cabin restaurant to pick up our spirits. Hopefully I'll have a bunch of pix to post tonight of our findings. For now, here are a few NATCHEZ shots. In the second one, the crew is getting chocolate chip cookies for the first time in 5 months. In the third, that's Capt. Troy C. Delaney steering into the sunset. Capt. Don Houghton was Master.
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    #2
    Sunset on the river

    Capt. Roddy Hammett always said the dinner cruise was his favorite trip, and here are some shots why....
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      #3
      and a few more sunsets

      These were taken on the upbound about 8:10. In this geographically challenged city, the sun is setting on the EAST bank!
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        #4
        Day 2 in NOLA

        As reported on the MQ thread, yesterday was dedicated to visiting the remains of the MISSISSIPPI QUEEN at Belle River. This is about 120 miles from NOLA, and CCH and I were truly in Cajun country. It was an idyllic setting: huge cypress trees covered with Spanish moss, campsites and fishing boats along a peaceful little waterway, and then... the Argosy Boat Co. site. The one cheery thing about this graveyard visit was the guard's thrill to meet a captain of the MQ. When I told him Doc had been a captain on the MQ, he began a very animated conversation with him, which ended with Doc autographing an MQ postcard for him. During this whole 5 year 'death oddessy, the MQ has truly reached out to new admirers. Many of the site guards have marveled at how many people have come out to visit and photograph her at her various holding places. On the bright side, I rode the dinner cruise of the Steamer NATCHEZ once again, enjoying the music of the Dukes of Dixieland. There was a film crew aboard to shoot a commercial for NOLA tourism and it was going to be done right at Algiers Pt. The director told Capts. Steve and Don what he wanted in the background, and it was very doable given no traffic. Naturally that's not what we had at the point: a downbound ship, a single barge tow, and the Canal St. ferry. But Capt. Don managed to negotiate it giving them what they wanted. Look for a TV commercial with people dining on the Hurricane Deck where the Christmas lights are strung on the railing! Never can use just the real thing! Golf this morning followed by another trip or two on the NATCHEZ.... from hot and steamy NOLA, on Matt Dow's natal day!

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          #5
          Hello from the Croissant d"Or

          I'm using the internet connection at the French pastry shop right around the corner from the BK House. Its an 8 block bike ride rather than a walk around the corner this trip. Yesterday was one degree below record temp: 98, heat index 110. In other words, a typical N.O. August day. And Troy Delaney and I played 18 holes of golf in it! I rode the NATCHEZ dinner cruise after recuperating at the condo a bit. There was a nice crowd aboard and another pretty sunset while the Dukes of Dixieland played out on the Texas Deck. Today I'll finally ride a day trip. Chief Engineer Scotty Vieages was getting from me driving directions to the MQ, as they have finally got someone to agree to sell a stern capstan to the NATCHEZ. Scotty and Capt. Nick will probably drive over next week to pick it up and see if there is anything else available. So a part of the MQ will live on on a real steamboat... One advantage to staying in this condo rather than in a hotel room is that I can bake cookies for the crew, which I'm heading back to do now, after I visit the BK house and say goodbye to Marion Chambon, longtime manager. She is retiring at the end of the week. The house will be closed until the day after Labor Day, when an undetermined person will take over I guess. By the way, my apartment is still empty... $6300 in rent lost since April 2010.... The river stage is about 5 feet, and that sandbar at the Moonwalk is not yet showing, but the ripples it makes are beginning to show...

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            #6
            Once more from the Croissant d'Or...

            just dropped off my bike and golf clubs at the BK house and will soon go back to the condo to pack. Thursday was another steamy NOLA day. I rode my first day cruise of this trip, but in the comfort of the airconditioned pilothouse rather than out on the roof. Took the afternoon to get my pictures printed out and returned for another dinner cruise and beautiful sunset. We then convened over at LeRichelieu's bar for some libations posttrip. The river stage is now below 5 feet and the results of the high water's silt deposits are showing. A dredge has been working all week by the cruise ship terminal and will be working its way down to Toulouse Street. It won't take care of the sandbar below the wharf, but will get the silting out of the dock area. Last night as we crossed over at Algiers Bend, not a bit of traffic. It would have been the perfect time for that commercial shoot they did earlier in the week! This is the year for the NATCHEZ' 5 year drydocking. Its scheduled for December, as they are trying to work around the college national championship football game on Jan. 9, as that will be a busy and productive time for tourism. Hopefully I'll be part of that with the Oregon Ducks making a return to better the result of last year's game in Arizona...I'd be remiss if I didn't report about the gift shop on the NATCHEZ: Miss Karen is now in charge and she is a ball of fire! She's found new distributors who are making items with the boat image on them, and she's brought back the original logo T-shirts too. Lots of new steamboaty items in the shop now, so if you get down here to ride, don't neglect to visit the gift shop up on the Texas stern... Keith will soon have many of these new items to display to you Ohio River people! Here's a few pix from the last couple of days: 1 and 2 are of a submersible ship which is being readied to transport towboats and barges to South America. They'll fill the walls with water, sinking the deck level and then float the towboats and barges onto the deck, similar to a drydocking procedure. We've seen maybe 5 towboats and 30 barges loaded on one of these ships. The third picture is of a seagoing tugboat. It has the secondary high pilothouse for use when pushing an empty barge, as there wouldn't be visibility from the main pilothouse.
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              #7
              More NOLA river scenes

              1) the cutterhead dredge working the cruise terminal docks. Unlike on the Upper, where they load the sand onto barges or pump it onshore to create beaches, here the silt is pumped through a pipe and deposited out in the middle of the river, where the depth is great.
              2) Mark Twain said: "Once you ride behind two stacks, you're doomed to steamboat until you're tombed."
              3) looking upriver from the roof
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                #8
                2:30 departure shots

                Shots from the Thursday 2:30 departure, with the verticals once again posting horizontally!@#$%^&
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                  #9
                  More departure shots

                  And so the sun sets on yet another great visit to New Orleans and the Steamer NATCHEZ!....10:30PM Friday:.just arrived back on the UMR after hiking basically the entire length of OHare International Airport due to having to switch airlines because of a late plane... give me a steamboat anytime!
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                    #10
                    Judy,

                    I never tire of seeing that beautiful boat! She has always been breathtaking to me since I first laid eyes on her. Thanks so much for sharing the beauty os steamboats on the river with us all on here!

                    Travis

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                      #11
                      Postscript from 480 UMR...

                      Just uploaded my final NOLA pix.
                      1) I mentioned the dredge working the docking areas. Here is a shot of the silt being pumped out into the middle of the river. There is a metal plate outside the pipe and when the silt hits it, it disperses in all directions.
                      2 and 3) these go under the heading: Where has the time gone????? The Captain out on the wingbridge as we are coming in for our 1:30 landing was a month old when I started working on the NATCHEZ... that is little Steve Nicoulin, which is obviously not the proper term now! On the boat they differentiate the two Steve Nicoulins as: Nick (the father) and Steven (the son). Steven is going to be serving his first time as Master while Nick takes a vacation. Don Houghton continues as Master/Pilot and Troy C. Delaney carries on as Pilot (while bemoaning Tiger's comeback attempt today).
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