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Historic Sailing Ships Arrive at the Mouth of the Mississippi River

Apr 17, 2018 05:14PM ● By Staff Writer
Crescent River Pilots board six sailing ships to guide them to New Orleans Woldenberg Park for city’s Tricentennial Celebration

Six tall sailing ships, the centerpiece of the New Orleans Tricentennial Celebration this weekend, are currently making their way up the Mississippi River to downtown New Orleans.

This afternoon in the middle of the fast-moving Mississippi River at Pilottown, LA, near the river’s mouth, pilots from the Crescent River Port Pilots Association (CRPPA) boarded the historic vessels and took over the steering duties of all six ships. 

Crescent River Port Pilots Association and the Bar Pilots Association are donating hundreds of hours of their time to safely guide the fleet of historic ships to their respective docks in New Orleans where the public will have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to tour and experience the magnificent ships this Thursday through Sunday. Four of these rare ships will dock at Woldenberg Park and two will grace the waters of Lake Pontchartrain.

Crescent River Port Pilot Association President Michael Bopp took the helm of the Elissa, a 99-foot-long, iron-hulled vessel built in Scotland in 1877. Bopp explains the challenges of guiding these historic vessels upriver as the unpredictable river poses constant threats to their seafaring skills.

Four of six tall ships are recreating the exact journey of the sailing ships guided by New Orleans founder Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville exactly 300 years ago this spring.

For the past three centuries, the New Orleans maritime industry has played a huge role in the country’s economy. For the past 110 years, the Crescent River Port Pilots have safely guided billions of dollars in everyday household products and trillions of barrels of dangerous chemicals and petroleum products each day around the clock up and down the challenging Mississippi River. The River Pilots continue to play a vital role today in the nation’s maritime industry. The Crescent River Port Pilots will also escort the Navy Tall Ships headed to New Orleans next week. They will also guide all the vessels downriver when the Tricentennial events are completed.

For more info on the Tall Ships Tricentennial Celebration, visit:

Video of Mississippi River navigation (04/17/2018)

Photos courtesy of CRPPA (Crescent River Port Pilots Association)