This photo by Dave Thomson, taken in 2005 in Hannibal, shows the Mississippi Queen in better days. Dave adds: "The Mississippi Queen was built by Jeffboat Inc. in Jefferson, Indiana, from 1973 to 1975 and launched on November 30, 1974. Until her christening on April 20, 1975, in Louisville, KY, she was referred to as 'Hull 2999.' "
And now, a little history . . . Greene Line Steamers holds a press conference to announce boat construction (above). Publicity photo shows Bill Muster and Congresswoman Leonor K. Sullivan (center), flanked by two ONA executives, Stedman Hinckley and (?). Below: The Mississippi Queen under construction, late 1975. The Mississippi Queen and Delta Queen race, c. 1977. Invitation to the christening of the Mississippi Queen.
Special thanks to Vicki Webster for this document. Vicki worked in the White House as the Save the Delta Queen liaison under President Richard Nixon and was present at the christening ceremony, where Congresswoman Leonor K. Sullivan broke a bottle of champagne on the bow with great effort.
Steamboat lore: it is alleged the CIA air-ops operation, known as ONA, purchased Greene Line Steamers to launder money! Find out if that rumor is true! Click here to read about the CIA-ONA Mississippi Queen connection (at this site)
Above: Majestic America Line promotional postcard featuring the Mississippi Queen. Majestic owned all the paddlewheel cruise ships in America at the time. Sadly, Majestic was discontinued in 2008, then parent company Ambassadors International filed for bankruptcy in 2011. Between 2009 and 2010, the Mississippi Queen died from corporate neglect and mismanagement. To learn more about the sad history, continue reading.
Here is the Mississippi Queen listing in a New Orleans boatyard. My brother, Bill M. Muster, took this photo in March 2009, when he visited New Orleans on business and coincidentally stayed in a hotel with a view of the boatyard.
I heard they are trying to auction the boat, and that many items were removed over the last year, since she last ran the rivers. There are a lot of rumors, but I will try to get the real story and post it here. (Come back soon!)
The following photos are by Karen "Toots" Maloy, and are published with her permission, 2009. May this boat's soul rest in peace.
Mississippi Queen Goes to the Gallows|
Photos by Capt. Steve Nicoulin show the Mississippi Queen being towed to her end, Southern Scrap in the Harvey Canal in New Orleans. Taken by Capt. Steve Nicoulin from the roof of the NATCHEZ 7:30 PM Tuesday May 11, 2010 downbound on the Mississippi - MQ is going through Algiers Lock and Canal to the Harvey Canal for scrapping. The MQ will be docked in the Harvey Canal where the Delta Queen was put back together after her sea voyage to go under her own power up to Cincinnati.
This just in|
Travis C. Vasconcelos commented on Save the Delta Queen 2010's wall post 11/22/2010. Travis wrote:
"The MISSISSIPPI QUEEN is tied up at 3800 Peters Road New Orleans, LA awaiting her fate. She is not totally gone at all...she is 100% intact as far as her super structure, when and engines are concerned. The interior and most of the hotel portion of the vessel is gone. But a blank slate is the artist workshop, is it not? True, it would take about $40m to get her going again....but, the bones there are good bones. Perhaps someone needs to go get her, too! If they have the ability to get the DELTA QUEEN going, she is the next natural step!"
Editor's note: Thank you for the good news, Travis!
This plaque marked the "Bill Muster room" on the boat. Many thanks to
Tracey Smith for rescuing this item and sending it to the Muster family.
Eddie kindly bestowed this field drum, especially made for that first year of cruising that coincided with the Bicentennial year. It was carried by drummer Ronnie White when the group played on deck or marched on shore.
Eddie wrote "Most of my stuff washed out with Katrina, but the drum was safe upstairs."
The drum was specially customized with the text:
"THE QUEEN'S OWN" (band)
and the names:
CAP (Captain Ernest Wagner)
BETTY (Betty Blake, tireless promoter of the Delta Queen Co.)
EDDIE (Eddie Bayard, cornet)
BILL (Bill Coburn, trombone);
FUZZY ("Fuzzy" Ballard, clarinet)
VIC (Vic Tooker, banjo and calliope player).
RON (Ronnie White, drummer)
STAN (Stan McCauley, piano)
DAVE (Dave Jacobs, bass)
Attached photo of the drum here at home and a photo of The Bourbon Street 5, also provided by Eddie Bayard.
The Mississippi Queen in better times. Glossy postcard copyright Delta Queen Steamboat Company, circa 1995. Sent in by Craig Stichtenoth.
Here's an article about the Mississippi Queen in Cruise Travel, August 1990. Look on pp. 34-39 for the MQ article, plus a photo of the DQ on p. 44. (Link sent in by John Weise.)