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We’re a week out from Christmas Eve and fewer days than that from the solstice, it’s time to complete road photos from two weeks ago already;  here was part 1.  The French Quarter of New Orleans has a lot of colored neon all year round, but here, juxtaposed with tropical colors of house paint, are some fairly traditional decorations.

But surprises abound: joy on the marquee here marks the Joy Theater, so named and so identified all year round since 1947 when opened by Joy Houck.  On next trip, I need to see what’s doing at the Joy.  More on the Houck family and specifically Joy’s place in it here.

Down a random street like St. Ann’s, you might see some seasonal lights, but

not all I suspect.

To the west 85 miles or so, Morgan City is the original home of Conrad Industries. We saw the front gate but had no appointment to go any farther.    Conrad has launched a long list of vessels since 1948, but the most common to sixth boro readers carry names like Weeks, Vane, and Great Lakes Dock and Dredge.

Morgan City, originally Tiger City, is currently named for shipping magnate Charles Morgan, buried in Green-Wood Cemetery in –you guessed it–Brooklyn.  His connection to the city stems from his dredging Atchafalaya Bay.  He’s unrelated to Charles W. Morgan, namesake of the whaling vessel seen here at Mystic Seaport.

The formidable gate is the result of the “great wall” surrounding the city, created and improved by the USACE to protect against flooding, particularly floods from snow melts in the Upper midwestern US.  I was surprised to learn the Atchafalaya is the fifth largest river in the US ranked by outflow.

The photo above was snapped by bowsprite, sitting [below) on this delightful public dock outside the “great wall” along the east bank of the Atchafalaya River gussied up with a bit of Christmas cheer.

This mural on the southeastern corner building at Front and Freret shows a crossing from another time.

The riverfront had lots to see.  Unfortunately, the rig museum and its centerpiece Mr. Charlie are closed, likely forever.  It would have been an interesting tour.  More on ASME landmark rig Mr. Charlie–the first offshore drilling rig that was fully transportable, submersible and self-sufficient–can be read here.

Since I started this post referring to Christmas displays in New Orleans, I  need to end it with the next several photos.

Lots of places have their local takes on Christmas trees, like this one of lobster pots I wrote about nine years ago.  Resplendant in flora from the Atchafalaya is Morgan City’s, which I’ve written about previously here.  That I believe must be La Christianne, Mama Noel sort to Papa Noël.  A cajun version of “… night before Christmas” can be read here, but you need to affect the accent.

Roux-dolf is the lead rein-gator towing the Spirit of Morgan City and its cajun Santa, a gift to the city by native son, Lee Romaire. A full compliment of gators would be called Gaston, Tiboy, Pierr, Alcee, Ninette, Suzette, Celeste and Renee . . . .

All photos, WVD, who welcomes any of your local waterChristmas photos and stories.

For tugster’s “twelve tides of Christmas,” click here. For my idea of a sixth boro container tree, click here.

 

See the man on the pier using his cell phone to get a photo?  I wonder what he imagined he was looking at, other than a group on the water on a spectacular December day.  Did he know he was witnessing the culmination of an odyssey?

The Columbia, Snake, Clark Fork, Missouri, Mississippi, [to saltwater] Mobile, Tombigbee, Tenn-Tom Waterway, Tennessee, Ohio, Kentucky, Kanawha, Allegheny, Chadakoin, Lake Chautauqua, Lake Erie, Erie Canal, Seneca, Oneida, Mohawk, Hudson . . .  [I may have left one out].  What do they have in common?

Neal Moore‘s paddled them stringing together a path on his 675-day canoe trip along his 7500-mile route of inland rivers from saltwater Astoria OR to the saltwater Statue of Liberty, an extreme form of social distancing during the time of Covid.   Photos of the last several miles follow.  

Note that the other paddlers traveled to the sixth boro of NYC to join him for the last few miles,

just as they–“river angels”– had during different segments of the 22-month trip.  Some elites of paddling enjoyed the sixth boro yesterday.

From Pier 84 Manhattan to the Statue and back, they rode the ebb.

 

Why, you might be wondering?  Moore, a self-described expatriate who wanted to explore the United States in the reverse order of the historical east-to-west “settlement” route, sought out to meet people, find our commonalities, our united strength.  Some might call that direction “the wrong way.”

After one circumnavigation of Liberty Island following his paddling up and down all those watersheds, the journey was done.  After unpacking his Old Town canoe, he scrambled

with assistance onto the Media Boat, triumphantly but humbly.

 

He stepped over onto a larger vessel in the NYMB fleet, for interviews and a trip back to terra firma,

22rivers’ goal completed, for now.

All photos, WVD, thanks to New York Media Boat conveyance.  I have many, many more photos.

For Ben McGrath’s New Yorker piece on Neal Moore, click here.  Also, check out Ben’s book Riverman.  Let me add two more references:  another McGrath article and a book Mississippi Solo here.

Of course, Neal’s whole epic can be traced at his site, 22Rivers.

I first learned of 22Rivers from Bob Stopper, who met Neal in Lyons NY two months ago, and I and posted about it here (scroll).

More links as follows:

Norm Miller, Missouri River guide

John Ruskey, lower Mississippi River system guide who was on the Hudson yesterday.  He’s also the founder of Quapaw Canoe Company.

Tom Hilton, Astoria-based Fisher Poet, whom I met last night.

And at the risk of leaving someone out, here’s a longtime favorite of mine, an account of a rowboat from Brooklyn to Eastport ME by way of New Orleans . . . Nathaniel Stone’s On the Water.

Who’d I leave out?

Call this grand finale, third of three on Nola traffic . . .  but of course, that’s contrived; there is no finale except to my reporting.  Powered traffic has operated here since Roosevelt, the great grand uncle and aunt of TR,  Nicholas Roosevelt and Lydia Latrobe Roosevelt, their second arrival there in 1811!  I’d love to time travel back to join them on their first trip by flatboat and their second by steamer New Orleans.

I’d put money on a bet that Federal Crimson is going to load grain for export. The grain comes down river in barges pushed by the likes of Penny EcksteinPenny is part of the huge Marquette Transportation fleet, and at 4600+ hp, she’s one of the least powerful. 

 

The 2015 Crimson is part of the Montreal-based, foreign-flagged dry bulk fleet called FedNav.

Only recently have the old Algiers ferriesArmiger and Porteriere–been replaced by the sleek catamarans, including RTA  2.  In the link for RTA 2, there’s an unexpected SUNY Maritime connection.

Blanco is part of the huge Kirby inland fleet, approximately 250 tugs and over 1000 barges.

The 2012 Pan Unity, loaded along the big Muddy is on her way to the Mediterranean, and who knows where beyond that.

The 2012 Capt Niles Shoemaker comes from a shipyard in Bayou LaBatre.

Ensemble here was headed for Altamira MX, and has already departed there back to the US port of Houston.

Capes Kennedy and Knox have been at the ready here since 1996 and served post-Katrina.

I love the grand stairs here, and find I’m not the only person who frequents them as a platform.

The 1992 Capt. Bud Bisso has operated in these waters under that name since her launch.

Salvation, 2009, is another tugboat out of Bayou LaBatre.  Salvation is also a Marquette Transportation boat.

Creole Queen stays busy.

War Emblem has carried many liveries since 1982, including Kirby colors, but her current name is rather unusual. Her operator, Turn Services, operates over three dozen vessels.

I took photos of a sister of the 2017 tanker Stena Imprimis in the sixth boro, and I’ve yet to post them.  I AM remiss!

Mark Dougherty operates for ACBL has over 3500 barges and almost 200 towboats on the Mississippi. 

 

 

The 1981 Joseph Merrick Jones has been part of the Canal Barge Co. fleet almost since its launch.

All photos, WVD, who refuses to call this a finale of any sort since the river flows on, the boats traffic 365/24, and I hope to return soon. And although this blog may seem obsessive, I try to keep my own personal levees in place to confine that energy to recording vessel traffic on this blog.

Three 2022 calendars remain in the market stall at tugster tower, $20 each.  After they’re gone, I close the merch division for another 11 months.   If interested, email me your USPS address.

Sitting on the levee in Nola, I note a variety of watercraft passing by no less assorted than the revelers in the French Quarter.  Well . . .  How about as differentiated as the contents of the best 15 bloody marys in Nola?  Well, let’s see the photos below , or see past Nola posts here.

Seeing a deeply loaded kayak like that coexisting with commercial traffic is quite unusual, but the gear there tells me that is a long-haul and experienced paddler.

Above and below, MV John Pasentine fights a lot more gravity than the paddler does.

Janice Roberts and Presager keep a healthy distance apart, 

 

each carving an arc in the current.

Upbound inside the curve, Rodney is about to disappear beyond Pan Unity.

Less than a minute later, Pan Unity splits the distance between Shiney V. Moran on our side and an unidentified tugs stands by with

After doing some work and returning to the river, I return to a river that continues flowing assisting and resisting those whose business rides there.

Robin R. with a crane barge,  two tugs with fuel barges upbound, and more and more.

What hearkens to the past, of course are vessels like the kayak above and paddlewheelers like the 1991-build riverboat City of New Orleans, or the 1983 Creole Queen, or 1970s steamboat Natchez. For info on the Lake George NY connections of the family associated with all three paddlewheelers, click here and scroll.

I have more, so I’ll have to do Dense Traffic Nola 2.

All photos and curiosity and any errors, WVD.

The first batch of calendars is on the way.  Please confirm when you receive.   The price this year is $20, and few are left.  Order now by emailing me.

 

You might have known that I had the good fortune to gallivant most of last week, and it’s tough to gallivant without recording some images.   I took several hundred photos, and not only of boats and ships.  As with infants, humans in unfamiliar places detect patterns, familiar details.  

Pattern recognition kicked in when I glanced across the Mississippi toward the Algiers side and saw Bouchard colors, although a little digging yielded info that Robert J. Bouchard, name notwithstanding, is now a Centerline Logistics vessel.  I suppose she’ll be painted soon.  Robert J. has worked in the sixth boro, but the most recent time she appeared on this blog was over 12 years ago here.

Dann Ocean colors are also familiar, but the profile is as well.  Rodney is one of several formerly Moran boats dating from class of 1975.  Rodney at one time was Sheila Moran. Of that same class, Moran’s Heide is now Dann Ocean’s Helen and Moran’s Joan is now Dann Ocean’s Roseada.  There may be others I’m unaware of, like the barge Carolina.

 

“Diaspora” refers to those who depart from a location, and they should be distinguished from the incoming (I’m wondering if there’s a word for them more general than immigrant) .  And as I understand it, Courageous, downbound here a few days ago on the Mississippi, was on its delivery and will be arriving in the sixth boro early this week, maybe today.  I didn’t notice her on AIS, but FB reports her departing Charleston SC for the sixth boro yesterday, Sunday. She’s sister vessel to Commodore, involved in a mishap this past summer.

 

I’d never have guessed that Crescent’s Miriam Walmsley Cooper had a sixth boro connection, but a little digging shows the 1958 boat once worked in the boro as Harry M. Archer M. D., an FDNY  boat. Anyone have a photo of her in FDNY colors?  Was she single screw already then?

 

I saw a pattern in the photo below because another formerly huge Bouchard tug saw transformation in the same drydock, Donna J. Bouchard to Centerline’s Robin Marie.

As it turned out, this was the former Kim M. Bouchard, now to be Lynn M. Rose.  Her eventual appearance will match Susan Rose.

And it appears that next in line for rehab and transformation, Robert J. will become a Centerline vessel as well.

All photos last week, WVD, who is happy to be back in the boros, any of the six.

Gallivants are intended to stimulate change, a path forward for which I’m seeking.  How strange it was then when I exchanged business cards with a Nola gentleman yesterday and his card was in the form of a Tarot card;  it was Death, the Grim Reaper signifying imminent major change in one’s life.  The old has to die for rebirth to be possible, like with plants.

Speaking of change, the calendar year too is about to change and in preparation, I recently created a 2022 calendars, of which 15 are left for sale. I’m expecting the shipment will arrive at Tugster Tower shipping office today. More details later but if you’re interested, email me your interest and your address. Send no money at this time, please, but prices will likely be up a tad because, of course, (fill in the blank here with your favorite scapegoat).

Unrelated:  Grain de Sail is back in the boro, their third time calling here in less than a year.

I had to leave the Missouri way too early, and will return as soon as possible.  For my last set from the roads of eastern Nebraska, let’s start with friendly boaters zipping downstream. 

Barges loaded with Iowa and Nebraska grain head south for the lower Mississippi and export.

Note the red floats on either side, safety lines I suspect in case of runaway.

Morning I stopped at a boat ramp near Brownville, population less than 500, where 

I stopped to see Captain Merriwether Lewis, a USACE dredge

one of the last surviving vessels from the (relative) straightening of the Missouri beginning in the 1930s.

She was the result of a 1920s infrastructure project we still benefit from today, and is currently a museum I could not wait around to see.  Well, next time.

Driving back to the Phelps City MO side of the river, I saw the perfect illustration of the advantage of barging.  The white trailer extreme right below is 

the first white trailer to the left here below . . . .   All those trucks headed to the elevator would

NOT fill even half a Missouri/Mississippi River barge.

All photos/choices/sentiments, WVD, who needs to get back here.  Events compelled me back over the Mississippi too soon and back to NYS.

 

My goal was familiarization, not veni vidi vici, or exploration of the 2300+ miles of river crossing parts of seven states, beginning in SW Montana.

Barge traffic is possible there now because of the work of the USACE.  More on that in a later post.

Here was my top-priority destination:  the current northernmost aka upriver port.  more on that later too. 

The above port is 50 miles north of Omaha and on the Iowa side.  So is Omaha connected to salt water . . .  indeed.

There’s a story here and here. . .  about a beaver and a business opportunity.

Now in the sixth boro, boats like the one above never worked, not so on the Missouri.  If you’ve ever following the Missouri and see a sign about the “steamboat exhibit” at DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, by all means, check it out. 

 

250,000 artifacts including 1860s steam technology have been excavated, cleaned/preserved, and nicely displayed.

It turns out there’s another steamboat wreck exhibit in Kansas City, which I took no time to check out, but I will next trip. Of note, both Bertrand and Arabia were built along the Ohio river, far to the east.

As to the question of current commercial activity north of Kansas City . . . it’s there.

If you’ve never read River Horse, a boat trip from the sixth boro’s Elizabeth NJ to Astoria OR, check it out.  I’m eager to re-read Moon’s account of his navigation of his boat through this geography.  Recently, I re-read his account of transiting the Erie Canal and encountering tug Urger and its erstwhile captain Meyer.

By the way, Urger will be featured in tomorrow’s post.

All photos, observations, WVD, who is back east of the Mississippi and catching up.

Again . .  greatly abridged . . . it took the two-lane most of the way across Iowa–included a fuel stop in Pella— from the Mississippi to the Missouri, although from Des Moines westward, I did take I-80, where a fleet of windmill parts was parked in a long rest area. 

 

I got back on the two-lane again to get to my river port destination.  The high-rises here are grain elevators, and small towns sometimes grow up with services around them. 

I got as far north as Sioux City, when I needed to turn south again.  The rest of this long river has to be postponed for the next trip, since what drove this trip is work, which I’ll hold off on explaining.  

But you can’t be here without countless references to the Lewis and Clark gallivant, a wandering westward at the behest and on the payroll of the United States.  

Near Blue Lake, a state park features a set of replicas of the vessels of the expedition.  

The centerpiece is their keeled boat/barge/mothership Best Friend.  Can you imagine poling, rowing, and towing this behemoth?!!

 

As I said, earlier, the northern areas of this river, South Dakota upstream to Montana, must wait for the next expedition/gallivant.

All photos, WVD. 

 

Road Fotos never tell the whole story, but enjoy these fleeting sights from the Mississippi Valley . . . like an excursion boat called Tom Sawyer

or one called Mark Twain . . ..

Some towns have statues of obscure favored and maybe local folks . . .

but no such unknowns are raised onto a pedestal in Hannibal. Is there anywhere in the US a writer as universally known and recognized as Mr. Clemens?

I’m sorry never to have met him.

Let me be uncharacteristic, and add a bit about my visit here.  After some trouble I’ll not elaborate on in Saint Louis, I was driving north along the Mississippi.  After some debate with myself, I pulled into Hannibal, found a room, took a shower, and walked around town looking for some food.  The BBQ place had moved out to the highway (Highway 61 !), so I walked on and found a Turkish place, right next to the farmer’s market where I bought some pears.  This Turkish place…  I sat outside, where a cat of the feline sort joined me.  The waitress had no voice but was very charming and wondered why anyone would visit Hannibal.  I’ll get back to that.  After a delightful and delicious meal, I paid up and walked out onto the deserted street, or I thought it was a deserted street.  Two deer, who seemed to be out exploring, met me.  We chatted and then went our separate ways.

Why would anyone visit Hannibal?!!  

Are you kidding me?  

I’d go back.  I highly recommend a visit to Hannibal, although I can’t guarantee you’ll meet the deer, the cat named Isabel, or the waitress with no voice.

All photos, WVD, who is now out of my personal WiFi desert.

Since we’ve had some extreme weather, how about a different type of extreme . . .  with NYC DEP sludge tanker Red Hook approaching the unique Riverbank State Park, one of three state parks within Manhattan, the one with a wastewater treatment plant beneath it.  I’ve just read that it’s now renamed the Denny Farrell State Park.  Who knew . . . ?

Many thanks to Greg Hanchrow for these photos from a few winters back.

Daniel Meeter, frequent commenter on the blog and so much more, happened to overnight in Huron OH and caught these photos of Kristin Noelle shuffling some dredge equipment around.

 

I happened upon Huron OH here a few winters back . . .

Jonathan Steinman caught this photo of Atlantic Salvor returning to the sixth boro some time back;  Jonathan used to send an occasional photo from the east side of Manhattan, but now he’s gotten really busy on the opposite side of the island.   Of course, that’s the GW Bridge in the distance.

Need launch service for supplies or crew change on the upper Mississippi River?  This launch can be trailered to the nearest boat ramp and then rendezvous with the client.  This photo and the one below comes thanks to Trucker Tim.

Sharon Jon has spent its entire life–older than me by a decade–in the Duluth area;  her days may now be done however.

My sister of the Maraki crew got these photos of Bradshaw McKee last week as it backed out of Grand Haven MI. 

I’m surprised by this, since I thought that barge was now married to Prentiss Brown, but those two tugs have quite different superstructures, and this is unmistakably Bradshaw McKee.  The barge, St. Marys Conquest, began life in Manitowoc WI as a tanker in 1937.

Many thanks to Greg, Daniel, Trucker Tim, Jonathan, and Lucy for these photos.

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