National Geographic : 1948 Apr
power, twin-screw Die sel tug can outpull her. Inevitably, the Diesels will drive all the paddle-wheel boats from the river. We met many of these Diesel tugs, and, while they are solid and impressive, they lack the grandeur and dimen sions of the old twin stack stern-wheelers, of which the Sprague is a lonely though majestic survivor. After the experience with the Sprague, I never worried about meeting ocean-going vessels below Baton Rouge. Their waves might be higher, but they would be farther apart and there would be more room in which to avoid them. Subsequently we did meet an ocean-going tanker below Baton Rouge. We figured her to be about 10,000 tons, though she was too far away for us to identify her. She kicked up big waves, all right, but they were big in all dimensions-long, roll ing, gentle waves, far enough apart to insure our craft against bridg ing them. We coasted gently down one wave, across the trough, then labored up the hill of the next. Staff Photographer Robert F. Sisson A Mississippi Relic Crumbles on the St. Louis Water Front A sight of this vanished glory calls to mind the days when stately packets held challenge races on the river. They were celebrated for their fine food, watermelon parties, poker games, moonlight dances, and shipboard romances. Railroad competition drove them off the river. Now the 285-foot Delta Queen is preparing to revive old times with a Cincinnati-New Orleans schedule. Tom, ensconced in the deck chair, feet on the rail, smiled a broad smile of approval of this elegant sensation. "Here's the type of water this baby was made for," said he. Last Night Aboard Twenty-seven miles above New Orleans we passed our last night aboard. A mile below us a modern ocean tanker rode high at anchor off the Shell Oil Company's docks. After we had found our mooring, we cruised down to look her over, and as we sailed around her towering bulk, her officers invited us aboard. They showed us all over the ship, the Nike, out of Goteborg, Sweden, a 12,500-ton Diesel ship built in 1939. After our tour of inspec tion, her second officer and first engineer accompanied us down the ladder and aboard the Meanco, where they signed our map chart. About noon on Friday, July 26, we passed under the great Huey P. Long Bridge and into the New Orleans harbor.* Our destination was the Allen Boat Co., where on Sunday the Meanco was to be offered for sale to the highest bidder. * See, in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, "Louisiana, Land of Perpetual Romance," by Ralph A. Graves, April, 1930; and "Louisiana Trades with the World," by Frederick Simpich, December, 1947.