With forty fifty-five-gallon oil drums bracketed together, fifteen boys between the ages of twelve and fifteen, three college interns, and one fearless leader boarded the homemade raft dubbed the Unsinkable in the summer of 1961. Their goal was to traverse the 1,742 miles of the Mississippi River between Minneapolis, Minnesota, to New Orleans, Louisiana.
In New Orleans or Sunk! author Dean E. Felsing narrates this story of an incredible crew on an unbelievable expedition. At the time, Felsing was a fourteen-year-old boy and a member of the Weekend Program for troubled kids. The trip was part of the boys’ summer vacation, and it was an adventure for all. From start to finish, he provides details of the journey that included spending ten hours a day on the water, traversing the river’s many locks, fighting the weather’s capriciousness, dealing with equipment failures, and learning to live with the other boys on a raft.
Felsing describes how he and the others conquered the mighty Mississippi that summer by taking turns as lookouts, pilots, navigators, cooks, mechanics, housekeepers, inventors, and explorers. New Orleans or Sunk! shares how they learned to appreciate the kindness of strangers and to understand the power of the river.