100 Years on the River: The Chotin Family and Their Boats

100 Years on the River: The Chotin Family and Their Boats

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The Chotin Family and Their Boats

by Jim Bradshaw

One Hundred Years on the River is the story of a south Louisiana family of boatmen who started their business with an old paddlewheeler and transformed it into one of the nation's largest towboat enterprises. This is the story of Captain Joe Chotin and his son, Captain J. Scott Chotin, and their families during the course of much of the twentieth century. It is a story of courage, ingenuity, and hard work.

Captain Joe Chotin was one of the last of a breed—an honest-to-God, shirt-burnt-by-cinders Mississippi River steamboat captain. Although he would later in life preside over a large modern towboat operation, he remained in his heart a steam-and-paddlewheel man.

As the early decades of the century passed, the operation expanded and Captain Joe's son, Scott, joined his father in the family venture. But tragedy struck when their pride and joy, the steamboat J. N. Pharr, was overturned by a tornado and sank. The future looked bleak. But the Chotins found the backing for a new boat, and then another, and another, until there was practically no navigable river in America that did not sport a modern diesel-fueled, propellor-driven towboat with the big red Chotin "C" on its stacks.

Shortly after he graduated from high school, Captain Scott became one of the youngest pilots on the river. Before he died, Captain Joe was the oldest pilot still holding an active license. Together, their life's work spanned nearly a century on the waterways, first on the bayous of South Louisiana, and eventually along the full length of the Mississippi and its tributaries.

Softcover, 214 pages, ©2001

ISBN: 9781887366434