The S. S. President

Riverboats and Jazz

Originally named the Cincinnati, this boat was acquired by the Streckfus company in 1933 and came out in July 1934 as the best excursion boat on the rivers. Initially based in St. Louis, the President featured bands co-led by Charlie Creath and Fate Marable which were large enough to split into two groups for daytime excursions, then recombining into one big band for dancing at night. By the 1940’s, however, disruptions occasioned by World War II, then followed by the rise of television and “home entertainment,” caused retrenchment in the excursion industry. Widespread “tramping” declined, and by 1944 the President had switched its home port to New Orleans, where it continued excursions, but on a more limited basis. Run by Captain Verne Streckfus for as long as anyone can remember, it was converted to diesel in 1978 and later sold in 1981 to the New Orleans Steamboat Company. This postcard from 1945 promotes the dance excursions running from 9 p.m. until midnight featuring Tony Almerico’s Famous 11-piece Band.