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Stories about people, places, and events.

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

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

St. Louis Riverfront Gets Little Respect

In St. Louis, the riverfront just can’t get any respect. With the St. Louis Rams positioning themselves to move—or to get the public to pay for another new stadium—St. Louis leaders are pushing a plan to build a new stadium next to the Mississippi River that they hope would convince the Rams that we are

By |March 2nd, 2015|About the Mississippi Valley|0 Comments