Nobody dreams about air travel anymore. Nobody talks about the romance and adventure of flight. Travel by air has become almost indistinguishable from travel by bus, except, of course, that busses have more comfortable seats, more legroom, fewer restrictions on passenger movement, and no extra baggage charges. You don’t have to remove your belt and shoes before you’re allowed on a bus. I’ve heard you can even bring a bottle of Cherry Diet Pepsi onboard without being stopped by security.
But boats and ships! That’s where the magic lives. Talk about romance and adventure and intrigue! Just think about the many and varied classic films that have been set on boats: Death on the Nile, Titanic, Lifeboat, The Poseidon Adventure, Mutiny on the Bounty, White Squall (ahem), and all those World War II Navy movies.
And riverboats—forever linked to the legacy of Mark Twain and to the ghosts of riverboat card sharks and mountebanks and lost souls like Spider John—might be the most captivating of them all.
So after lunch at Galatoire’s, I walked down to the Mississippi River to watch the boats go by.
Willis Alan Ramsey — “The Ballad of Spider John”