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For room and board and little else, Chris Blache ’97 spent 13 months traveling the world and learning about ships and navigation. Upon returning to New Orleans, he became an apprentice Mississippi River pilot. “I just loved being on the water,” he said.
Blache is a “bar pilot,” guiding ships from the Gulf of Mexico to Pilottown, La. Crossing from the Gulf into the river is the trickiest part of a winding 30-mile stretch. “You don’t want to hit another vessel, and you don’t want to get stuck in the mud,” he said. The stakes are high. In terms of tonnage, south Louisiana is the busiest port in the nation. Every kind of ship goes up the Mississippi, from small cargo carriers to Navy vessels and cruise ships. They carry grain, coal, oil, chemicals, finished goods — and people, in the case of cruise ships.
Read more about Chris and other owls who shared the desire to seek and find a more authentic and satisfying life. Link in Bio. Photo by Tommy LaVergne.
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