The Ouachita Belle

Tulane has a very impressive steamboat collection. Among the collection is this beauty:

I think they have the date wrong though. The Ouachita Belle was built in Louisville, KY for Captain Fred Blanks’ line and made it to New Orleans in December that year to start her run. She travelled up and down the Ouachita carrying passengers and freight to landings all along the river. By 1875 she was shown in the papers as a semi-weekly mail packet, traveling the Bayou Sara and coastal route. By 1879 she was making trips to Arkansas City, Memphis and Vicksburg..

At 1 o’clock in the morning, the Ouachita Belle hit a snag fifteen miles above Austin, MS. She sunk in ten minutes. The Belle was loaded with freight, cotton and cotton seed. Some of the cotton was washed overboard and later saved by a passing boat. No lives were lost. Thus ended the career of one of the Ouachita River’s “splendid little packets”.

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