EURSOC: "Mark Twain Would be Sad"
The last queen of the Mississippi is going to her grave in November. Her name is the ‘Delta Queen’, the only active 19-th-century-style real paddle-wheel steamboat travelling up and down the Mississippi and Ohio rivers in the United States. Her mighty steam organ blasts merrily along the way. To the joy of sightseers and passengers.
Although the Delta Queen certainly looks the part, she was built in 1926. Britain played a role: her huge steel hull was constructed in Scotland. But, in keeping with tradition, she was fitted with a wooden superstructure resembling a white wedding-cake on the decks above the boat’s sizeable tonnage.
- Caption: "Delta Queen" on the Upper Mississippi River - slide show on picture gallery -
In the good (or bad) old days, riverboats such as the Delta Queen were very popular. In their heyday they were associated with gambling, naughty pleasure and fine views of wild and wildlife scenes.
Quite a few crawfish were served onboard and there was plenty of Bourbon.
The paddle-wheeled steamboat is a part of American folklore, not far away from cowboys and the Alamo. The US federal Coast Guard - bless their hearts - has decreed that the vessel must retire. The only reason given is that she is “dangerous”.
This correspondent has visited two paddle steamers on the water front of New Orleans as late as the end of the 1980s. They are now gone.
Mark Twain wrote at least one of his books on a Mississippi boat. Farewell Delta Queen, and goodbye to a big part of American popular culture.
Fortunately it's not over yet! What the Delta Queen needs is an exemption from the US Congress which she received several time over the last 40+ years without any problems. There is still hope and a strong groups of supporters and politicians are fighting for the Delta Queen to keep her running as an overnight passenger vessel. >>>
Visit "Save the Delta Queen" campaign site.
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