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High Water: 1903

High Water: 1903

"Loading steamer Chalmette during high water, March 23, 1903, New Orleans." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.



The contents of the steamship may have been similar to the steamship Arabia's cargo - everything from pickles to dishes to prefab houses.

Mean manual labor

When I look at all those stevedores making a beeline over that gangway I come to think that container ships may be much more boring to look at than those paddle steamers of yore. But I guess they are much more fun to load and unload.

One year later she was gone

The "Chalmette" was originally named "The City of Vicksburg", which was wrecked by a cyclone in the harbor of St. Louis. In 1898 she was rebuilt and renamed "The Chalmette". In her life on the river, she was the victim of many small accidents such as breaking of chains or timbers. Finally on July 12, 1904 she hit "a snag" and sank, taking with her her cargo valued at the time at $30,000. There were approximately 40 people on board at the time, but were no fatalities.

Grand Picture

Like a scene out of Show Boat. Wonderful

Spot, the dog

Or spot the dog. Can you see it?

I have a half-baked theory that dogs disappeared from city streets when automobiles became prevalent.

I developed the theory from my unscientific study of Shorpy photos.

If only we could know the cargo

As a former merchant seaman, I can't imagine lading a ship like that, much less navigating it on the Mississippi. Oh, if only we could know the contents. Cotton for sure, but letters to loved ones, heirlooms, fish and crabs and oysters, maybe some fruit. Much more romantic than a tug and integrated barge full of anhydrous ammonia.

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