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Chaz Rough: Welcome everyone to this edition of Look at Louisville. I am Chaz.
Stacey Yates: And I am Stacey.
Chaz Rough: And we are on the Belle of Louisville, a historical landmark that is known internationally.
Stacey Yates: Well, that is right Chaz and 95 years old this year; a legendary lady.
Chaz Rough: She is the Lady of the River and we’re going to go for two hours down the Ohio. We’re going to have lunch, listen to Bluegrass music and just enjoy the scenic view.
Stacey Yates: That is right. This is one of Louisville’s icons, you know, we have the Kentucky Derby here the fastest two minutes in sports and this is going to be a relaxing two hours on the Ohio River.
Chaz Rough: That is right. So, we’re going to take you along with us and take a big chill pill and just enjoy yourself.
Stacey Yates: I think this will be one of our most relaxing podcasts yet.
Chaz Rough: Yes.
Stacey Yates: All right. Let’s go, anchors away.
Chaz Rough: Well, I’m here with Linda Harris; the CEO of Belle of Louisville and I grew up at the Belle. She is a merry old lady, I mean for the people who aren’t familiar about the Belle of Louisville, can you give us some history?
Linda Harris: She holds the title of being the oldest operating steam boat in the world.
Chaz Rough: Wow!
Linda Harris: She has traveled more waters and gone through more lakes than any of her kind.
Chaz Rough: Yeah, I heard she is a tramp and she has traveled many places.
Linda Harris: Tramp has come up and they are the steam boats were called tramps because they tramp from city to city to make a living, to be a hundred years old in 2014 is nothing more than phenomenal. I think that is why they call her the legendary lady.
Chaz Rough: The diva of the Ohio.
Linda Harris: She is a diva. She is a high maintenance woman. But she is in wonderful condition, a marine architect told us very recently through his tour that she is in wonderful shape and that she might have another 75 to a hundred years ahead of her to entertain and take on excursions our children and grandchildren.
Male: We were told about it and we thought, it looks amazing. Thought it would be fantastic experience, something we would never experience before back time and I’m looking forward to having a great time here today.
Male: We are staying in Louisville for two years now and we are planning to go back again this year before leaving Louisville, we have to take a trip on the Belle.
Stacey Yates: A great advantage you can get to the city if you don’t have—own a boat, what a great view of the Muhammad Ali Center. You know when you are further away from it, you can see the—how they plain out the mosaic tiles to represent Muhammad Ali’s boxing formation. You really get a great view of that from right here in the middle of the Ohio River and just a cityscape as well.
Female: I was down here a couple of years ago and I saw a pluck on the river in Madison about the Belle and I wanted to go on it ever since so that is why we’re here today.
Female: I love it. I am glad we’re still here. I hope to stay here with my children who have kids.
Female: I think it is a wonderful thing for us to have. I feel sorry for the people down in Mississippi that don’t have the Delta Queen anymore. I love it. I think it is great. This is a historical landmark and we should be proud to be a part of the city inhabit.
Male: Bluegrasses means we play the music we love. It comes from the heart of the people.
Chaz Rough: Okay we’re here with Kelly Gream, the director f Sales and Marketing on the Belle of Louisville. So Kelly, tell me what type of event is this on the Belle that we’re experiencing today and what are the type events do you do on the Belle?
Kelly Gream: Every Sunday, we have a terrific Bluegrass lunch. It has been a tradition here at the Belle of Louisville like for it today we have the Whiskey Bent Boys which is awesome as you can see.
Chaz Rough: Yeah they are great.
Kelly Gream: We encourage families to come on board. We’re traditionally known for our Bluegrass lounges on Sunday. Terrific food by Halls Catering; very Kentucky style food, Kentucky fried chicken, green beans.
Chaz Rough: Music Kentucky music?
Kelly Gream: Yeah most definitely. Well, a better way to spend the Sunday then cruising up the Ohio. Aside from Sunday, on Thursday we have our sunset cruise which is great for families and visitors. Fridays, we have lunch and dinner on both the Spirit of Jefferson and the Belle of Louisville. And then on Saturdays, we’re trying to do some more family oriented cruises. We have a magician and a clown to sort of entertain the children. We have a DJ that will adapt to the music that is on—to the folks they are on the cruise that day. We are starting some Wharf events which will be free to the public; three Saturdays out of the summer; one in June, one in July and August. And we’ll have a Wharf free party that will have a Blues festival that is free and then on the same night, you can buy a ticket to a new country cruise on the Belle of Louisville.
Chaz Rough: Now, this is what I call some good Kentucky cooking. Lot of food, lot of exciting music, you know the Bluegrass; it is classic Kentucky, classic Louisville.
Stacey Yates: We are here with Jim McCoy, he is the Chief Engineer for the Belle of Louisville and Jim, what kind of a special place the under Belle of the boat, it’s got to have an official name, where are we? Tell me.
Jim McCoy: This is the engine room. You’re in the engine room right now.
Stacey Yates: And this is—we’re kind of behind the ropes but you can actually come down and notice that children and their families, okay.
Jim McCoy: There is a landing on the stairwell at the engine room is wide open and the engineers are there to explain what is actually going on and we provide handouts and we make it a good experience.
Stacey Yates: This is really big. I thought once you are on board, you kind of had to stay on the upper decks. I had no idea you can do that.
Jim McCoy: Well, a lot of people think that but that is one of the charms of the Belle, you can really see how it works, you can hear the engines are the roar of the fires and the—
Chaz Rough: Well needless to say, this is actually a place for Stacey would say another one of my good friends, well needless to say this is my good friend, he really is. Mark Doty and I who is the captain of the Belle of Louisville wert to grade school a high school together. Nice seeing you again.
Mark Doty: Same here.
Chaz Rough: Now, how many years have you been the captain of the Belle?
Mark Doty: Actually this is my third year as Captain, as the head Captain; the master of the vessel. I have actually been with the operation for 28 years now. We put a lot of love and care in this boat or she would not be on the shape she is in today. The best part of the job is actually working on the boat during the winter months because we all scrap onto Belles become a carpenters, want to go glaciers whatever it takes to fix whatever maybe damage during the summer months.
Chaz Rough: I think the max speed is right now, you know the going is what 68 miles an hour?
Mark Doty: That is normal cruise speed. This is original 1914.
Chaz Rough: That is the original?
Mark Doty: That is the original wheel except for facing that.
Chaz Rough: Wow, wow. Now is that for calling out—is that just for decoration or you to be working?
Mark Doty: Actually before this indicator was put on, you can see, we don’t control the boat up from up here. We just let the engineers know what we want. So they are transmission down below.
Chaz Rough: As a childhood friend, are you going to let me stir the ship in now?
Mark Doty: We can possibly do that.
Chaz Rough: You know the words no. Thanks Mark.
Mark Doty: All right.
Chaz Rough: Well Stacey I don’t know about you but it has been a great day out here on Belle of Louisville on the Ohio.
Stacey Yates: It doesn’t get much better than this does it? Something—loves to listen to Bluegrass music on the Ohio River; on the Belle.
Chaz Rough: And you that the food, you know, it doesn’t get any better, it is like home cooking.
Stacey Yates: It is really good. It was like you said, it was like a typical pot luck, you know, your family reunion style that fried chicken.
Chaz Rough: Coleslaw, salad.
Stacey Yates: With all due respect to my mother, that chocolate pie was almost just good as hers.
Chaz Rough: I had a lemon pie.
Stacey Yates: Yeah it was a wonderful Sunday picnic meal. But I want to point if you want more history about the Belle of Louisville, I have a great website at belleoflouisville.org and it had a great history piece that you can watch and with a quote something from it. I thought that was really neat, it said that, “The Ohio River is what made Louisville a town but the steam boat is what made Louisville a city”, you know it is really true. Back in the h1850s, Louisville was the 10th largest city because of the steam boats and you know, the Ohio River was the major highway, this was before trains and cars and air fare and if you really want to go back in time and see what it was like, you know back then in that era, this is a great way to do at the Belle of Louisville.
Chaz Rough: Well as always, if you have an idea for an upcoming story, please send it to podcast and go to ouisville.com. In fact, that is how we did this story, they e-mailed us and said please you know, come out here and do a story on the Belle of Louisville so that is what we did.
Stacey Yates: And I am so glad we did.
Chaz Rough: And you know you can also find us on Facebook, just do a search for go to Louisville and of course you can do twitter.com/gotolouisville as well. So, as always—