The evening ceremony was small but poignant. The boat docked within a secure area of the Port of New Orleans, so the general public did not have access to come down and share the festivities. We gathered with members of the local media and a representative from the New Orleans city government. Aching and feeling sick to my stomach, I gave the VIPs a final tour of the vessel. We then all gathered in the Texas Lounge for a small reception and presented the city with their plaque.

Captain Gabe Chengery and Captain John Dugger

Captain Gabe Chengery and Captain John Dugger

Honored guests included Captain Doc Hawley and Captain Gabe Chengery who both have served as Masters aboard the Delta Queen. Also attending was Scott Young who served as President of the old Delta Queen Steamboat Company back in the 1990s. Everyone shared stories and reminisced. Laura and I closed the party with one final performance of Delta Queen Waltz, the gorgeous song written by Grammy award-winning songwriter John Hartford, who also was a liscensed riverboat pilot.

As the party wrapped up and people drifted out, a heavy silence settled over the boat. It was agonizing and so we set out into New Orleans to locate sufficient distraction.

 

 

Captain Doc Hawley

Captain Doc Hawley

The next day (Nov 7) the final details were completed to pack her up and prepare her for her sleep. Many handshakes and hugs were exchanged as the last remnants of this precious riverboat family drifted away with the wind.

Early the next morning (Nov 8) the Delta Queen slipped quietly away from the dock and crept across the river where she sullenly tied up to the Mississippi Queen to await news of her fate.

I will always cherish that I was able to escort her along this remarkable journey.

–END–

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