This was a great week to finally get this blog up and rolling. I am glad to have a forum to share with you some of the special memories that are being made onboard.


In Pittsburgh last Saturday (August 2), we had a special visit from Captain Gabe Chengery and his lovely wife Cindy.


Captain Gabe served as the Captain of the Delta Queen for about 30 years before retiring. Cindy is a dynamite singer and they met on the Missisippi Queen when she was aboard as a performer.


It was such a treat to see them. For so many crew and repeat passengers, they brought back a lot of wonderful steamboating memories. Cindy was even sweet enough to agree to join cruise director Bob Schad during a musical set in the Texas Lounge and they did a rollicking medley of “Won’t You Come Home Bill Bailey,” overlaid with “New Orleans” (Let’s fly down, or drive down, to New Orleans…). She still knows how to wow a crowd!


Captain Gabe was very nostalgic, visiting the boat in what (heaven-forbid) could be her final season. Another of his steamboat passions is the steam and iron organ commonly known as the Calliope. He even has a historic calliope off the steamer Avalon (now the Belle of Louisville) which is currently functioning in his back yard, powered by a leaf blower! I have had the great pleasure of playing that treasured instrument when I visited them last year. We were able to persuade him (it wasn’t hard) to give a performance on the Delta Queen calliope. Here’s a little video snippet I took:



I interviewed Captain Chengery last year about the threat of the boat being retired and he had some very powerful words to share which I included in my most recent CD recording in my River History Series (available at HERE) which I titled “The Life and Times of the Delta Queen.”

Life and Times of the Delta Queen audio CD

Life and Times of the Delta Queen audio CD

Here are a couple of snippets from that recording quoting the passionate feelings Captain Gabe shared with me:


Captain Gabe on the Delta Queen’s significance 


A beautiful understanding of the Delta Queen’s significance from Captain Gabe:


More from Captain Gabe


We send Captain Gabe and Cindy all our best and look forward to seeing them again soon. Here’s a big Delta Queen Steam Whistle Salute for them:


Delta Queen whistle salute