Published by the Sons & Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen
America's Steam & Diesel Riverboat Magazine

The following article recently appeared in an issue of The S&D Reflector. It was written by Judy Patsch. Subscriptions to The S&D Reflector can be purchased here on our website.

Doc Hawley and I drove over to Houma, LA on April 22 to visit the DELTA QUEEN and Capt. Mike Williams. She is not hard to find, quite obvious as you come over the Prospect Avenue Bridge (LA 3087). She has quite a bit of land separating her from the businesses in the area and is far enough from town that I was relieved not to have to think about local kids coming to do whatever to her (adults too, I suppose.)

She is not in the pristine, shining white we are used to, but when you see these pictures, be aware that although there is rotting wood and fading paint, there is also evidence of scraping and patching which has already been don by the small crew. So not all of the blotches are ‘damage.’ ¬†While her exterior shows the results of winter weather and no ‘makeup’ jobs for several years, her interior public rooms are in amazingly good shape. The only damage visible was a small area under the Texas Bar in the Forward Cabin Lounge, a result of leaking from the bar. The few staterooms that were open looked fine too. There is no way to deny there is a lot of work to be done, but she couldn’t have a more caring and positive person in charge than Capt. Mike Williams. If every Congressman could talk with him, that exemption would be on the books pronto.

The DELTA QUEEN left Chattanooga for the New Orleans area in late March, with an arrival date in early April, and I had a New Orleans trip scheduled later that month. So was there any doubt that I would be heading over to see her? Actually there was. A word of explanation: many of you know I did not set foot on her in Chattanooga. I had been spooked out when touring the QUEEN MARY, for which I had no emotional attachment, and feared I might ‘lose it’ if I came to a lifeless DQ. Today however there is life – you can’t spend five minutes around Capt. Mike and not feel it. And now there she is in the hands of people who care, there is hope. And while she is in worse shape now than the last time I saw her, I didn’t have the feeling I was on a dead boat – and certainly not while listening to Capt. Mike as we roamed the decks. Long live the Delta Queen!

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