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
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.
· SPRING 2020