The Steamboat Natchez

The one thing I knew for sure that I wanted to do while in New Orleans was take a paddlewheel boat down the Mississippi.  Being a great fan of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, I had this romantic notion of journeying back in time down the wide river lined with graceful plantation homes.  But, of course, this isn’t the 1800’s, and reality didn’t come close to imagination, but it was a great experience nonetheless.

We arranged to meet Sis and BIL at the Toulouse Street Wharf for the morning sail.  While Hubby and I waited to meet up, we got to experience the entertaining Steam Calliope Concert.  This is a series of whistles powered by steam from the Natchez’s boilers and turned into songs from days gone by.  Fun, but extremely loud.

100 Natchez's calliope playing

Ninth in a line of steamboats dating back to the 1880’s, the Steamboat Natchez is the last remaining authentic steamboat on the river.

222 Steamboat Natchez

While waiting on board to depart, we watched the large tankers manoeuvre under the Algiers bridges and then navigate the tight hairpin bend in the Mississippi.

106 Algiers bridge

110 Barely clearing the bridge

112 Mississippi River

The view of Jax Brewery from the boat.  Such a beautiful building, I can’t help wondering what it looked like when it was still a brewery.

114 Jax Brewery, River front

We spotted a gorgeous crepe myrtle tree on the riverfront walk.

115 Crepe Myrtle tree, River front

Unfortunately, the people seen underneath the tree seemed to have set up permanent camp.  It might just be a shady hang-out or maybe it was their home.  I’m not sure why I was surprised at the large number of people with their hand out, some obviously homeless, some not so obvious.  But I digress…

New Orleans skyline

117 New Orleans skyline

This area and this building in particular was damaged by a hurricane (not sure if it was Katrina) and someone painted “You are beautiful” on the building to remind people that despite the damage, the beauty remained.

121 Mississippi River coastline

These are called Roll On, Roll Off ships, which if I’m remembering the story correctly, only carry cargo that rolls on and then rolls off, such as vehicles.

125 Roll on, Roll off ships

This is the entrance to the Industrial Canal.  It was up this particular canal where the 17th Street levee failed during Katrina, causing the majority of the catastrophic destruction in the lower 9th ward.  The Industrial Canal runs between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain and is the start of a series of canals that goes all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

129 Entrance to Industrial Canal

Some sad old wharves that have experienced more than their fair share of storms.

130 Old wharfs, Mississippi River coastline

131 Old wharfs, Mississippi River coastline

We did see some stately plantation homes along the way, mere glimpses in some cases, behind the high levees.

134 Mississippi River coastline

135 Mississippi River coastline

147 Mississippi River coastline

149 Mississippi River coastline

This is the Domino Sugar plant and as we cruised past, we could see giant hoppers emptying loads of raw sugar into the plant.  It seemed so primitive, but is obviously effective.

137 Domino Sugar

138 Domino Sugar hoppers

There are lots of tugs on the Mississippi River and they keep busy with the important task of ferrying barges to and fro.  Quite amazing to watch them manoeuvre their big loads.

155 Mississippi River

173 Mississippi River

174 Mississippi River

We didn’t realize until this vantage point that there were actually twin bridges between New Orleans and Algiers.  From the riverfront view they appeared as one.

160 Algiers bridge

This is Algiers and the courthouse where we had our picnic lunch the previous day.  The picture I posted last week showed the levee from the land, this shows it from the other side.

167 Algiers

Algiers and New Orleans skyline

169 Algiers & New Orleans skyline

New Orleans.  Great view of the Riverwalk and the new state-of-the art Aquarium of the Americas.  That large building in the centre is the former World Trade Center building, it’s now empty and up for demolition.  It’s such a striking landmark, I’m sure it’ll be sadly missed if it’s destroyed.

170 Former World Trade Center building and Aquarium of the Americas

There were barges of scrap cars that we were told had been there since the destruction of Katrina.

178 Scrap cars from hurricane Katrina

The Creole Queen also gives riverboat tours.  It’s a beauty, but apparently it’s not an authentic sternwheeler steamboat like the Natchez is.

182 Creole Queen, New Orleans

The Riverwalk

185 River Walk, New Orleans

I thought it was cool the way he called signals as they were docking.

188 Calling signals, Steamboat Natchez

This guy set himself and his (stuffed) dog up, holding that pose for quite a while, in hopes of donations.  I had to track him down after we got off the boat and give him a buck for having taken his picture.

190 River Walk

191 River Walk

I thought I’d get our entire day done in this one post, but we had many adventures yet to come, so I’ll save them for next weekend.  Join me HERE for some rail riding. Start from the trip’s beginning HERE.


2 thoughts on “The Steamboat Natchez

  1. Pingback: The Year in Pictures | joyceholmes

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