What was the first steamboat on the western waters of the US?

Enterprise_03January 12, 1812 — The New Orleans was the first steamboat on the western waters of the United States. Today, it ushered in the era of commercial steamboat navigation on the western and mid-western continental rivers when the first load of cargo arrived in Louisiana.

Owned by Robert Fulton and Robert R. Livingston, and built by Nicholas Roosevelt, the New Orleans started its maiden voyage in March 1811 from Pittsburgh along the Monongahela River.

At 148 feet 6 inches long, 32 feet 6 inches wide, and 12 feet deep, New Orleans cost abut $38,000 to construct, and it provided space for up to 60 passengers. It was considerably larger than other barges of the time.

Two years later after its first historic trip, New Orleans hit a snag when its hull was punctured near Baton Rouge, on July 14, 1814. It set the pattern for the average lifespan of a steamboat of about three years. It also became the subject of the 1989 song, “New Orleans Is Sinking,” by the band, Tragically Hip.

Sources: youtube.com, wikipedia/NewOrleans

Words of Wisdom for January 12, 2017

Bourbon blues on the street, loose and complete
Under skies all smoky blue green
I can’t forsake a dixie dead shake
So we danced the sidewalk clean

My memory is muddy, what’s this river that I’m in?
New Orleans is sinking, man, and I don’t want to swim

Colonel Tom, what’s wrong? What’s going on?
You can’t tie yourself up for a deal
He said, Hey, north, you’re south, shut your big mouth
You gotta do what you feel is real

Ain’t got no picture postcards, ain’t got no souvenirs
My baby she don’t know me when I’m thinking bout those years

Pale as a light bulb hanging on a wire
Sucking up to someone just to stoke the fire
Picking out the highlights of the scenery
Saw a little cloud that looked a little like me

I had my hands in the river, my feet back up on the banks
Looked up to the lord above and said, Hey, man, thanks

Sometimes I feel so good I got to scream
She said, Gordie, baby, I know exactly what you mean
She said, she said, I swear to god she said

My memory is muddy, what’s this river that I’m in?
New Orleans is sinking, man, and I don’t want to swim

Swim

— "New Orleans Is Sinking," lyrics and music by the band Tragically Hip