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Public Works Projects Along the Mississippi: Enduring Benefits of the CCC and WPA

In 1932, the US Gross National Product dropped a record 13% and nearly one-quarter of the adult population was unemployed; in three years 40% of American banks had failed. In the first few weeks after his inauguration in March 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt launched a series of ambitious public works programs to get people working

By |April 9th, 2016|About the Mississippi Valley|0 Comments

Father Mazzuchelli’s Churches

The frontier priest traveled the Mississippi River to serve tiny parishes. His buildings still grace many rivertowns.

By |January 19th, 2016|About the Mississippi Valley|0 Comments

Beauty at the Far End of the River

Some fifty miles downriver of New Orleans, Bohemia Beach comes into view like Brigadoon, an oasis of sandy beach between piles of rip rap. When I met the Rivergator expedition on the west bank of the Mississippi River at Algiers, downtown New Orleans looming behind us, I knew I was in for surprises in the

By |November 17th, 2015|About the Mississippi Valley|1 Comment

Paddling on the Lower Mississippi

Before I step into Grasshopper, a 30-foot voyageur-style canoe, I regard the big river I am about to navigate with six other paddlers. Lyrics from a song by bluesman Big Bill Broonzy echo in my head: “Mississippi River, it’s so long, deep and wide.” I’ve canoed and camped along the Upper Mississippi many times, hiked

By |October 4th, 2015|About the Mississippi Valley|0 Comments

Delayed Gratification

When I first started exploring the places along the Mississippi River, I did a lot of driving. When I’d get to a new community, I’d look for the good places to be near or on the river, so I could pass those tips along to other travelers, then I’d pack my car and drive to

By |September 6th, 2015|Blogging the Great River Road|0 Comments

The Murals of Montrose

I crossed the Highway 136 bridge back into Iowa and worked my way down maddeningly slow Main Street in Keokuk, a highly engineered but poorly thought out road that put the stop in stoplight. I plodded along toward Montrose, hoping to get there before the local history museum closed at 4. Guillermo "Memo" Dominguez

By |August 25th, 2015|About the Mississippi Valley|1 Comment