Robert Rucker  was a native of New Orleans, and he opened his own gallery in the French Quarter at the age of sixteen. Immediately, Rucker found himself surrounded by fine artists of the New Orleans area, like Knute Heldner and Clarence Millet, two of his earliest influences. At the age of seventeen, he developed polio, an event that ironically became a blessing rather than a handicap. 

    Because of his illness, the Louisiana Department of Education funded his schooling at the John McCrady School of Fine Arts in New Orleans. Rucker studied under McCrady for the next five years, developing a style that would later become synonymous with New Orleans and the surrounding countryside of the Mississippi Delta. 

    Rucker’s most famous subject is perhaps the steamboat. His love of them came from his family, having two grandfathers who were steamboat captains. He produced many variations on the theme during his career. He is also well known for various bayou scenes and the south Louisiana countryside, themes that he eventually began to render in an impressionistic style and often with pastel tones during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. 
Rucker held exhibits in Baton Rouge and New Orleans as well as Chicago, San Francisco, St. Louis and Cleveland. In addition to being an art teacher at his own gallery, he was a textile designer, an art teacher for the City of New Orleans and a medical artist for Tulane Medical School. Robert Rucker died of a heart attack in 2001.

 

ALONG THE RIVER  FROM THE LSU LIBRARY BUILDING  ON MAY 24,1970


HISTORY OF THE QUEEN CITY AND HER RIVER BOATS


AMERICA:   Built in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1867.  Weight 1256.75 tons.  This was one of the most elegant boats ever built for the Louisville-Cincinnati trade, with a double cabin and two tiers of staterooms accommodating 200 passengers.  It burned and sank after a collision with its sister boat, the UNITED STATES,  above Warsaw, Kentucky, on December, 4 1868.


UNCLE OLIVER:    Built in Jeffersonville, Indiana, in 1906 and originally named CONCORDIA.  Renamed in 1914 when purchased by the Royal Route Company of Vicksburg.   Named after Oliver  Wilds, father of the captain.  Dimensions 152' x 36.6' x 6'.



GEORGE PRINCE:    Built in Nashville, Tennessee in 1922. 
Dimensions 144' x 29.5' x  6.2'.
This boat , unlike most, had a steel hull; its cross-compound condensing engines and other machinery came from the dismantled  PERCY SWAIN.   It was later sold, renamed OUACHITA,   and dismantled in 1940.



CHARLES P. CHOUTEAU:   Built in St. Louis in 1877 as a cotton carrier. 
Dimensions 296.7' x  54' x 7.6'.  Its record cotton load was 8841 bales, delivered in New Orleans in 1878.  This boat had the first electric lights  seen in St. Louis, installed about 1880.  She burned and was lost below Memphis in 1887.



OUCHITA:    Built in Jeffersonville, Indiana, in 1890. 
Dimensions 189' x 38' x 6.5'.  Built for the New Orleans-Ouachita River trade, she became known as the "BIG OUACHITA"  to differentiate it from smaller boats of the same name.



COLUMBIA:   Built in West Brownsville, Pennsylvania, in 1902.   
Dimensions 172' x 48' x  6'.  This was the largest packet built for service on the Monongahela River, the cabin and texas containing 75 staterooms.  She burned at the Pittsburgh wharf in 1903, was rebuilt and burned again opposite Glassport, Pennsylvania, in February, 1910.  



BETSY ANN:    Built in Dubuque, Iowa, in 1899.   
Dimensions 165' x 33' x 5.5'.  She was operated first in the Natchez-Bayou Sara trade and was later run on the Ohio River.  In 1932 she was  converted to a towboat, and in 1940 she was dismantled in St. Louis.


TELL CITY:   Built in Jeffersonville, Indiana in 1889.
Dimensions 190' x 38' x 5.2'  Originally built for the Louisville-Evansville trade, she sank in the Louisville Canal in 1898, was pumped out and placed in the Pittsburgh-Charleston trade.  In 1917 she sak at Little Hocking, Ohio.


VIRGINIA:   Built in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1895. 
Dimensions 235' x 40' x 7'.  This boat had several revolutionary features in its design: she was one of the first boats on the upper Ohio to have a carbon arc searchlight contained in a glass-fronted case with a reflector behind; her paddle wheel was built with staggered buckets in the side wheeler style, a style that other stern wheelers later copied and she employed an "arched" or "rainbow" hog chain system. 


AVALON:  Built in Clarington, Ohio in 1898.
Dimensions 167.1' x 33.4' x 4.0'.  She was used for service between Pittsburgh and Parkersburg, West Virginia until 1900, then used on the Tennessee River in 1901.  In 1908 she was sold and renamed OHIO.  She burned at Parkersburg in 1916.


PIKE:  This was the first steamboat to arrive in St. Louis in 1815.


SENATOR CORDILL:   Built in Jeffersonville, Indiana in 1902.  
Served as a packet on the lower Mississippi until 1920 when she was sold to a group of produce dealers on the upper Ohio River.  Dismantled in 1934 after sinking in the 
Ohio River.


LIBERTY:   Built in Clarington, Ohio in 1912.  
Dimensions 141.8' x 28.7' 5'.  Originally built for service between Wheeling, West Virginia and Clarington, she eventually ran routes from Matamoras, Texas to Pittsburgh.  She discontinued regular trips in 1936, and was the last regular packet to call Pittsburgh her home port.


HARD CASH:  Built in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1876.
She served the Memphis-White River trade until 1885, when she was sold to Mobile, Alabama, where she ran the Mobile-Tombigbee River trade.


NATCHEZ:    Built in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1869 for famed Captain Thomas P. Leathers.
Dimensions 303' x 46' x 9.5'.  One of several boats of the same name owned by Leathers, this was the most famous.  During her career she made 401 round trips between 
New Orleans and Vicksburg, not counting occasional trips to St. Louis.


J.M. WHITE:     Built in Jeffersonville, Indiana in 1878.  2027.76 tons.
She was the supreme triumph of side wheel architecture and the most elegant and luxuriously appointed boat ever built.  She ran between New Orleans and Vicksburg until she burned off Point Coupee Parish, Louisiana in 1886.


LOUISIANA:     Built in Jeffersonville, Indiana in 1880, as the lighthouse tender 
JOSEPH HENRY.  Converted into an excursion boat and renamed LOUISIANA  for service
out of St. Louis during the World's Fair in 1904.  In 1909 she was sold to Memphis and renamed PATTONA.


BELLE OF THE BENDS:   Built in Jeffersonville, Indiana in 1898 for the Greenville-Vicksburg trade.  She sank twice, in 1909 and in 1910, but was recovered 
both times.  Later she was converted to an excursion boat, renamed LIBERTY, and operated around Cairo, Illinois from 1918-1919.  Dismantled in 1919.


QUEEN CITY:   Built in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1897.  
One of the most beautiful and most ornately decorated of the steamboats, she was a deluxe packet designed for a high-class passenger trade.  She was used for service between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.


CITY OF CINCINNATI:    Built in Jeffersonville, Indiana in 1899.
Dimensions 300' x 38' x 6'.  Said to have been one of the best proportioned side wheelers ever built.  She was lost in the ice at the Cincinnati wharf in January, 1918.


ECLIPSE:   Built in New Albany, Indiana in 1852, she was never launched but rather was built on low ground and taken off by a rise of the river.


R. DUNBAR:   Built in Jeffersonville, Indiana in 1895.  
This was one of the first boats built using creosoted timber in its wooden hull.  After her captain, Tom Rynam, was converted at a religious revival meeting he had biblical inscriptions painted throughout the main cabin and a life-sized picture of Christ hung in the ladies' cabin.


BATON ROUGE:   Side-wheeler owned by the Anchor Line of New Orleans'; she sank and was lost near Baton Rouge.


QUINCY:     Built in Dubuque, Iowa in 1896.
Dimensions 264.7' x 42' x 6.8'.   She was the last side-wheeler used in the 
St. Louis-New Orleans trade. In 1919 she was rebuilt as a deluxe excursion boat and renamed J.S.  

 

            This information is taken out of the Beauregard Art Show on October 14, 1978


    Native Louisianian, Don Reggio, is a professional artist whose paintings reflect his experiences and a heritage of Louisiana ancestry dating back to the 1760's.  Training since childhood in the fields of music, dancing, gymnastics, and art has brought unusual versatility to his works.  Educated in New Orleans schools, he received private art instruction under Robert M. Rucker.  In 1971 he graduated with a degree in Fine Arts from L.S.U.N.O.

    Today, his oils, watercolors, and egg temperas are exhibited in galleries throughout Louisiana and appear in numerous private collections in the United States.  His various achievements in public and jurored shows include acceptance in the France-Louisiana Art Exhibition and first place awards in the Pirate's Alley Art Exhibition in New Orleans and in the Jambalaya Art Festival in Gonzales.  He most recently won the Merit Award of the Art Council of Greater New Orleans during the Greater New Orleans International Exhibition.

    Mr. Reggio has been featured in several one-man shows and has participated in numerous group exhibitions.  He teaches classes in watercolor and was admitted to the Louisiana Watercolor Society in 1975.  Several of his watercolors are in the collection of the Louisiana Landmarks Society.

 

Everett Michaels, member of the Florida Fine Arts Guild, Tampa, Florida.

    Everett studied art at the Pennsylvania State University, Hillsborough Community College, and The Famous Artist School.  He also studied under legendary Water Color Artist Edgar Whitney, Ton Couch, T.V. Artist Gary Jenkins, and Nationally know Portrait Artist Danial Green.

    He has had several one man shows, to name a few, The Log Cabin Gallery and U.S. Bank 
in Johnstown, Pa.  Everett was Guest Artist at The Southern Allegheny Museum of Art, commerating the 100th anniversary of the Famous 1889 Johnstown Flood.  In Florida he Exhibited in Tampa wit the Florida Fine Arts Guild, and at Teco., The Library, and Glendale Bank in Ruskin.

    Everett has won many awards for Watercolor, Oil Painting and Pen and Ink Drawings, in Penn., and Fla.  A few are first.  Pen and Ink Drawing at the Cambria County Fair, and several 1st and second Oil Paintings, at Art Exhibitions with the Allied Artist of Johnstown, Pa.  In Florida many awards and 3 consecutive years at the Strawberry Festival in Plant City, Fla.

    Everett has been teaching Oil Painting locally several years.  Some of the places he taught were The Moorings, Manatee R.V. and Ruskin Village Gallery.  He conducts Workshops in Tampa, for the Academy Art and Florida Fine Arts Guild.

    Everett has painted Murals for Churches.  You can see his work in two murals that hang in St. Francis of Assissi Catholic Church Seffner, plus the 14 woodcarved Stations Of The Cross, that he carved.

 

 

    Don Wright was a native of Shreveport, Louisiana.  After graduating from Franklin High School in 1957, he enlisted int the U.S. Navy where he served until 1961.  Immediately following his military days, Don joined an exploratory seismographic company that allowed him to experience the glaciers of Alaska and Canada, the beaches of Bahamas and most of the terrain between them.

    During his time with the seismographic company, Don's interest in art began to grow.  
So, at the age of 24, Don began attending classes at Southeastern Louisiana University.
The next four years were spent mostly on conservative studies of art that provided Don with a firm foundation in drawing and composition.  After he completed his BA, he was accepted to an MFA program at the Pratt Institute of New York.  Don finished the Pratt Institute in 1970 with an emphasis in painting, drawing and what he would later call his favorite medium, sculpture.  

    While most established Louisiana artists are known for their interpretations of backwater bayous or the Vieux Carre.  Don seems never to have settled on a particular theme.  His style of painting is always unmistakable, but it can be found in subjects ranging from swamps to nudes and courtyards to cabins.  In his own words Don said of his art, " My intent is to fuse internal reality within the artist with outside stimuli, the product being the finished art object.  I deliberately subordinate all questions of style,
technique, subject and medium to this simple credo."

    Don's work has been featured in Gilley's gallery and also in the collections of LSU, 
the Ziegler Museum, Louisiana 's permanent collection and many private collectors throughout the south

    Don Wright quietly passed away in January of 2007.  He will truly be missed.

 

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