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Lower Mississippi River Dispatch No. 366

Paddle Together, Paddle Far

November 7, 2016

We river guides of the Lower Mississippi River believe the river connects us all, and water is life. We are all about balance. As we carve canoes, and then paddle them on the biggest river in North America, we always seek balance. Our canoes must be balanced for safe travel. Our minds must be balanced with our hearts and souls for best possible leadership and guidance for our youth apprentices and adult clients. What discoveries do we make as result of this balance? Every time we set out we find harmony between heaven and earth, mud and sun, civilization and nature. The canoe becomes a living, breathing metaphor for democracy. We put aside all of our differences and work together for the good of the whole. Can we bring this harmony back to town? That is our greatest challenge.

It’s easy on the river, because nature inherently propels us toward the greater good. But on land our priorities become clouded and confused. However, we know what balance feels like, and if nothing else we seek to find that same balance in our homes and communities. Tomorrow will be one of those unusual days that could lead us on two entirely different directions in our long journey of life as Americans. We should all search our inner heart of hearts and decide which candidate will help us all find the best balance.

Us river guides -- we go with the way of the river: with her, in a big canoe that includes all of us. We are the worker bees. The river is the Queen. Tomorrow we hope you are in the canoe with us — as we put aside our pains and discomforts and paddle together for our kids, and grandkids, and the good of the whole, for generations to come. For the love of the river and our nation. For the love of mother earth.

Upcoming Events:

Sat Nov 12th Super Moon Night Paddle in the Big Canoe. Meet at 2pm at Quapaw Canoe Company and board our shuttle bound for the muddy banks of the Mississippi River. Paddle to remote sandbar island for supper and moonrise. Paddle downstream to next landing by the silvery light of the Super Moon. Moon will be at its its closest since 1948! Bonfire and Potluck. Email for more details and/or reservation.

Sat Nov 19th: Recycled Mississippi: National Recycling Day Celebration 3rd & Sunflower at Quapaw Canoe Company in downtown Clarksdale, featuring IOCO the Recycled Mississippi raft! Come Celebrate Recycle Day Saturday, November 19th from 10am to 4pm at Quapaw Canoe Company. Bring your plastic 1s and 2s bottles and cans for the recycling bin. Tour IOCO: the Recycled Mississippi raft made out of 798 bottles that successfully journeyed down the Mississippi this summer! Our goal is to “798: Match the Raft!” We want to collect 798 bottles on the day of the event, the same number found in IOCO: Recycled Mississippi. In addition, pick up some cool recycling swag. Bring your kids. Family friendly. Bring your friends. You and your friends and family will learn more about recycling and keeping our rivers clean. For more information contact Marc Taylor/Clarksdale Recycling Manager 503-998-3476; Quapaw secretary Lena von Machui 662-313-6220; 1 Mississippi leader Mark River 662-902-1885.

Sat Dec 17th: Quapaw Canoe Company “We Survived the Flood” and annual Winter Solstice Celebration! Celebrating the shortest day of the year — and also celebrating our successful recovery from the 2016 Sunflower River Flood. A big thank you to all who pitched in and helped out! Open House with tours of the renovation. Live music, bonfire, food and drink. Starts at sunset (approx 5pm) and lasts until.


If you want to walk fast, walk alone

If you want to walk far, walk together

-Bob Swap, translating an African proverb

Why are the worlds oceans rising faster than predicted? What is the 800,000 year history of atmospheric carbon (CO2), and why are we now going off the charts? What is the “methane mega-fart?” Why is Grand Isle, LA, losing 0.4 inches a year? How long can we afford to re-locate Americans at $1 million each from marginal coastline communities? Why is China entering its 4th epoch, the “Eco-Civilization?” What is the Mississippi River “fluff?” What is “Green Chemistry?” What are the “Wild Miles” of the Lower Mississippi? Where is the most productive agricultural region in the world, and why are rising sea levels threatening access to it?

Mark River and I presented the Rivergator: Paddler’s Guide to the Lower Mississippi River at TARA Talks IV on the same morning panel as retired USACE commander Duke DeLuca, Dr. Robert Correll, John Milner, Dr. Robert J. Swap, WILD Foundation prez Vance Martin, and our friend Dr. Reid Bishop of Belhaven University. Climate expert John Englander signed copies of his best-seller High Tide on Main Street; Alaskan guide, biologist, and pilot extraordinaire Michael McBride copies of The Last Wilderness. Wild men Peter McGuire and Paul Hartfield sparred in karate, in between sharing their life’s work and passions.

Sobering and electrifying is the best way to describe it. TARA Talks IV presenters can be seen at Papers and presentations will soon be made available. More description forthcoming in upcoming issues of the LMRD — the Lower Mississippi River Dispatch. Stay tuned!

Mapping a Modern Mississippi

Adam Elliott, Natchez Outpost of Quapaw Canoe Company featured in Mississippi Museum of Art “Mapping a Modern Mississippi” video series. The story begins thus: “One day Adam Elliot had a friend drop him off in Minnesota to kayak the entire length of the Mississippi River. Now, he owns a small river guiding service, an outpost of the Quapaw Canoe Company, based in Natchez, Mississippi.”

Another River Myth Debunked

React365 published a scary photo and story that has been circulating around FB and other social media, supposedly sighting a pair of great white sharks in the Mississippi River near St. Louis. quickly debunked this misleading story by identifying the photo from a 2008 Twitter posting of bull sharks in the Sirena River of Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica. But not before the posting was shared 57,952 times.

The wise adage “don’t believe everything you read” has never been more true than in the internet age. React365 is one of the many web sites that allows people to create fake (but convincing-looking) news in order to, in its own words, "prank" others. In its own words on its main page: “Create your false news and prank your friends. Share them on social networks! What are you waiting for?”

If you see something on the internet that is too amazing or too crazy to be true, it probably is not true. Google it and research sources before sharing. One thing we don’t need in our increasingly sensitive world is more falsehoods. Like all natural systems, our civilization operates best with diversity, efficiency, and the sharing of accurate information.

Lou Moore, 1933-2016

Us Mighty Quapaws raise our paddles in honor of Lou Moore, 1933-2016. This issue of the LMRD is dedicated to her long and colorful life!

I was privileged to paddle on the Mississippi River in canoes with "Miss Lou" (as Wesley Jefferson the Mississippi Junebug used to call her), on many different occasions ranging across the entire length of the Mississippi (440 miles) from Memphis to Natchez, on many different expeditions… so many I have forgotten exactly the number, and all the places we paddled. What a joy Miss Lou was in the canoe! Lou radiated life in all its best expressions, with humor, scientific curiosity, and great love. Everyone was happier when she was around. She was one of the smallest adult paddlers I've ever met, but one of the biggest personalities! Everything she shared seemed to be delivered deftly with a twinkle in her eye. I learned a lot from her about birds and geology, and life as a woman growing up in the South, and many other topics. I was also the brunt of many of her pranks. When the mood turned serious, Lou seemed to become more playful — and irreverent. She never seemed to hesitate when the mood struck her. If she had something to say, it would bubble out of her. She had no respect for society's "norms" but complete respect for compassion, the heart, and the comedy of life. I also saw her sadness. I was with her when she received the news of her son's passing, which I am sure this is the most difficult moment for any parent. She was a non-stop paddler, and non-stop story-teller, and loved to make jokes about other people in the canoe... if you stopped paddling she would send a bottle of sunscreen up to your position in the canoe to put on your paddle for danger of UV “overexposure…” Regardless of the amount of food we packed for any given trip, she always brought more — more peanuts, more candy, more crackers, more chips, more, more, more. And not only more snacks, but she always arrived with bags full of bubble-makers, party favors, masks, art supplies, and games. I think I still have several gallons of bubble soap left behind from previous trips. One year she (and her troupe of what we came to call "the Amazing River Nurses”) arrived with Viking helmets for everyone to wear! Her last name Moore is entirely appropriate to her incredible effusive generosity which exploded at times around campfires and on the sandbars of the Mississippi River. Whatever space we had in the canoe was filled with pieces of driftwood, rocks, fossils, plastic crates, and whatever goodies she discovered on the sprawling beaches of the big river, most of which we would have to pack in our already overloaded canoes, and she would bring home with her — for what purpose, I was never entirely certain of. We will miss you, Miss Lou! But we will also never forget you! Miss Lou was bigger than life, and many stories will survive through the years, at the very least amongst us river guides, the Mighty Quapaws, of the Mississippi River. Here’s to you, Miss Lou, we raise our paddles in special honor to all you brought and shared with us, the river, and all its creatures, and everyone around you. You brought joy to this world. Many blessings on your new journey from the Mighty Quapaws!

RIP Lou Moore


Lou Adelaide Frissell Moore, a wonderful, joyous human being, died at age 83 at her home in Madison , Mississippi, on October 19, 2016. She is survived by her husband, William Sebastian Moore, and her children Lynn Adelaide Campbell, Bowman Stirling Tighe, Jr., Thomas Bryant Moore and Nathan Frissell Moore and six grandchildren and two great grandchildren. David Howard Moore, her son, predeceased her in 2011.

She was a nurse educator who retired from University of Mississippi Medical Center after twenty-five years. She loved working part-time at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Jackson as a psychiatric nurse. She was an avid canoeist and relished whitewater canoeing. At the age of 78, she canoed down the Mississippi River from Clarksdale to Vicksburg with friends. She enjoyed going to the Atchafalaya Swamp in Louisiana with a small group of friends who stayed overnight on a small houseboat on the swamp. She also volunteered at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. She was a student of life who was an inspiration to all who knew and loved her.

She was an active member of Wells United Methodist Church where a memorial service will be held on Sunday, October 23, 2016. Visitation will be at Wells from 2:30 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. with the memorial service at Wells following visitation.

In lieu of flowers, Lou, who loved animals and rescued many, would have appreciated donations to CARA, a no-kill animal shelter.

Haley & Cody: Amongst the Current

(Helping support the Quapaw Canoe Company Flood Recovery)

MOLINE/MACOMB, IL — It was clear from Haley Brasile's and Cody Presny's wide smiles and zealous waves from their canoe that the couple was about to encounter people they love waiting for them along the Mighty Mississippi. In late August, Brasile, who finished her RPTA degree in December 2015, and Presny, who finished up his degree the May before, embarked upon what they call "Amongst the Current," a canoe trip down the length of the Mississippi. While they both admit the long days of paddling are a part of "another adventure" together, the enterprising pair has a method to his/her madness of navigating the Mississippi River this fall—a time when the swift waterway has been at flood stage in some of the regions through which it runs.

Not only are they meeting and working with members of the Mississippi River network—a group of organizations whose members work together to preserve the Ol' Muddy— along their way, they are raising money to support the Quapaw Canoe Company. Based in Clarksdale (MS), the Quapaw is a small outfit that offers Lower Mississippi paddling experiences to at-risk youth groups, churches, schools, scout troops and anyone who wishes to experience the wondrous beauty of the Mississippi River Valley.

"Last March, a slow moving storm passed over the Quapaw headquarters, dumping more than 17 inches of rain, which flooded the Sunflower River Basin, the area along the river the company's owners call home. The flooding left Quapaw headquarters under water and in need of reconstruction," explained Brasile and Presny when they landed in Moline October 3. "With our Amongst the Current project, we are working in partnership to support this mission-driven business. They are dedicated to exploring and sharing the beauty and wildness of the Lower Mississippi River. They bring the powerful benefits of canoeing and team building to youth at-risk groups from Mississippi, Louisiana and Missouri."

Through their website,, Brasile and Presny are collecting donations for the Quapaw Canoe Company until they reach Clarksdale.

(The above from Western Illinois University newsletter. Please go to for full story and photos)

The Lower Mississippi River Dispatch

is brought to you courtesy of

The Lower Mississippi River Foundation

Our Projects:

Rivergator: 1Million words describing the Lower Mississippi River:

Wild Miles: 71% of the Lower Miss is wild according to river rats. Will it stay that way?

Our Friends:

Quapaw Canoe Company: custom-guided wilderness expeditions on the biggest and wildest river in North America, in our hand crafted cypress strip voyageur canoes. Now with outposts in Memphis, Vicksburg, Helena and Natchez. Home base: Clarksdale, Mississippi.

Big Muddy Adventures: custom-guided adventures on the Missouri, Mississippi, Meramec and Illinois -- covering the Grand Central Station of America's rivers from home base St. Louis.