Nexion Escape Spring 2020 - Page 20

THREE RIVERLORIANS What exactly is a Riverlorian? Laurence: We’re principal interpretive specialists on all relevant topics — maritime navigation, geography, geology, natural history and cultural history. Jerry: A Riverlorian is a historian who specializes in rivers. In addition, a Riverlorian is a storyteller and provides practical information about rivers, steamboating and navigation. Which rivers/riverboats do you call home? Laurence: My regular vessel is the American Empress on the Columbia and Snake rivers. I have also been a Lewis & Clark guest speaker on the American Duchess on the Ohio River and the Mississippi confluence north to St. Louis. Bobby: Currently, I’m on the American Duchess, which travels the entire Mississippi River system — lower Mississippi, upper Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee and Cumberland. Jerry: I’m on the American Queen steamboat traveling the same rivers as American Duchess. How did you get started in your career? Bobby: I was a music major in college and also always loved history when I was young. Right after school I had the opportunity to be a bass player in the show band on the Delta Queen and was introduced to the river; I fell in love with it right away. This transitioned into being a cruise director and bandleader with American Queen Steamboat and becoming a Riverlorian six years ago. As a history fan always asking a lot of questions, it was an easy transition. Laurence: I served on the board of a prominent nonprofit devoted to protecting the Columbia River and was an interpreter, writer and public speaker as part of the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial in Idaho, Washington and Oregon. So, I came to the attention of the person responsible for recruiting a “discovery guide” for a cruise line that no longer exists. Some of the vessels in that cruise line, such as the American Empress, are now owned and operated by American Queen Steamboat Company. Bobby Durham Jerry: I grew up along the Wabash River in Indiana and early on was fascinated by the river with dreams of exploring it and beyond. I eventually did just that. Over the years I have operated charter boats, delivered boats for brokers and written 10 books about rivers. I began working on the steamboats in 1999 as Riverlorian on the Mississippi Queen and have also served on the American Queen and Delta Queen steamboats. Jerry Hay 18 · escape · SPRING 2020