Louisiana Division/City Archives   New Orleans Public Library

Image of the Month
September 2010

This photograph, probably taken during the 1950s by Industrial Aerial Photos, shows the yacht "Good Neighbor" cruising past the First Street Wharf on the Mississippi River. The vessel belonged to the Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans (the "Dock Board"), having been purchased in 1946 to perform harbor inspections for the agency. Subsequent sailings were regularly billed as "inspection tours," but were in actuality more "hospitality cruises" than anything else. Mayor Chep Morrison made particularly good use of the vessel as a venue for entertaining foreigh visitors whom he hoped to enlist as partners in the Crescent City's international trade ventures.

Originally built around 1930 for a member of the family that owned the Fisher Body Corporation (manufacturers of automobile bodies for General Motors) the vessel was more than 150 feet long and cost over $600,000. Originally named the "Saramar III", a subsequent owner dubbed the yacht the "Wild Duck." In 1939 the Canadian government gained possession of the craft and used it as an auxiliary naval vessel; it, then known as the "Husky," was instrumental in the sinking of two Italian ships off the coast of Spain during World War II. After the War ended, Canada sold the boat to the Dock Board for $25,000.

By the mid-1960s expenses for maintaining the "Good Neighbor" were outweighing any benefit that the Dock Board or the City derived from its continued operation. In 1967 the Board sold the craft for $36,000--$11,000 more than it paid for it twenty-one years earlier, but considerably less than the amount spent on repairs and refurbishing during its Crescent City period. In later years it served as a restaurant, first in New Orleans and later in Pensacola, Florida. A subsequent owner converted it to a scuba diving boat and took to the Bay Islands, Honduras. As of mid-2007, according to Carolyn Kolb (writing in New Orleans Magazine), the "Good Neighbor" lay in the Escatawpa River in Moss Point, Mississippi. The old boat had been damaged by Hurricane Katrina but was still afloat. Maybe it will have yet another life before all is said and done?

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