The National Achievement Award is the highest honor presented by the National Rivers Hall of Fame to those people who are making significant contributions to America’s waterways. The National Rivers Hall of Fame with members in 36 states is the only national museum telling the stories of the people of America’s rivers.
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Honored in 2001
E.G. “Eddie” Conrad was born on Lagonda Plantation near Patterson, Louisiana, on Bayou Teche. At an early age his family moved to New Orleans, and he lived on or around water throughout his life. At sixteen he traveled the length of the Mississippi River from the Gulf to its source at Lake Itasca. This trip inspired his lifelong love of the peoples, cultures, and natural beauty of America’s rivers.
He founded Compass Towing Company, Inc. in 1963 at the age of twenty-three. His towing business expanded to include the operation of more than 40 boats on the Mississippi River system and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and employed more than 500 persons. He owned and operated ancillary services including fleeting and topside repair services.
He is best known for novel barge excursion business. In 1990, he developed specially designed barges to carry RVs along the bayous and backwaters of Southern Louisiana and the Mississippi River. Then he established River Barge Excursion Lines, Inc. which built the River Explorer which was made up of two hotel barges pushed by a tow boat. These floating hotels carry 198 guests on excursions on the nation’s inland rivers, including the Mississippi, Cumberland, Atchafalaya, Ohio and Missouri Rivers and Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.
The Port of New Orleans Propeller Club recognized Eddie Conrad as the Maritime Person of the Year for 2001.