While Columbia, Louisiana is only about 40 miles (as the crow flies) from Natchez itís hundreds of miles by river. To recreate an historic journey from Columbia to Natchez, a couple of loyal customers, Iley and Rick who live in Columbia, launched their craft and proceeded down the Ouachita River.
Back before roads crisscrossed the countryside there were only two means of travel, by meandering rivers or unfamiliar land routes. Traveling by land through strange backwoods inhabited by Indians, bears and other wild creatures, some being outlaws, could be dangerous and very time consuming. Winding through thick underbrush, crossing swollen rivers and streams and deep gullies followed by hills could turn a relatively short trip of 40 miles into weeks.
Due to dangerous and time-consuming land travel most early travelers choose to venture by water. This gave rise to towns springing up along rivers. Columbia, Louisiana founded in 1823 on the banks of the Ouachita River is one of these earlier river-towns in northeast Louisiana.
For Iley and Rick to accomplish their trip they launched their vessel in the Ouachita River at Columbia, and traveled down the Ouachita to Black River. From there they proceeded down Black River and into Red River. Once in Red River they continued south until they reached the Old River Lock & Dam where they were able to lock-through to enter the Mississippi River. Once on the Mighty Mississippi they turned north and proceeded until they reached Natchez where they docked at Under-The-Hill Saloon.
Upon docking Under-the-Hill they were greeted by family and friends who hadnít seen them for five days. As they entered the saloon they passed out some very colorful t-shirts to all in attendance to commemorate their journey. The back of the t-shirts spoke volumes:
Gas can on Ebay -- $1.00
10 cases of beer -- $206.55
Redesign of pontoon boat -- $1200.00
200 Miles Ė 5 Days
On the Rivers
Under The Hill Saloon