Rolling Down the River

Ever since I was a kid in New Orleans, I've felt the lure of the Mississippi. I played on its levees, fell asleep to the mournful signals of the boats passing Algiers Point, spent summers working on derrick barges and tugboats, and even proposed to my wife on its banks. So I've often mused about taking a boat down this historic main artery of America.

This spring I got that opportunity. Along with a rotating crew of two dozen TIME writers and reporters, I took a two-week trip down the river on the Grampa Woo III, a delightful chartered boat...

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