Mississippi Dreaming

The Missing, Tim Gautreaux, 2009

Paddle Wheeler Belle paddle_wheeler_belle

Bolden’s Band boldensband

A novel set largely on an aging Mississippi paddle wheeler in the years after the First World War by a natural Southern story teller. The story is good but what stands out are the details of the old river boat patched together each year for a summer of dance and church day cruises on the Mississippi from New Orleans to Cincinnati and St Paul. North of New Orleans, most crowds have never heard a black New Orleans Jazz band and the boat keeps a white band in reserve for backwater cruises where a black band would cause a riot.

The central story concerns the department store abduction of a talented young girl, daughter of river boat entertainers by backwater villains who have been retained by a wealthy but childless banker. The security guard at the store is fired and he spends the rest of the novel tracking the girl and her abductors. His search takes him on river cruises and he encounters a series of dark characters living beyond the law in the bayous.

New Orleans Quarter 1920 new_orleans_quarter

Louisiana bayou bayou

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