Meet Our Captains, Officers, and Marine Leadership
Matthew Dow, Director of Marine Operations
He joined the company is 2016 as Project Manager on the renovation of the Riverboat CITY OF NEW ORLEANS, sister boat to the NATCHEZ. His father, Bill Dow, and grandfather, Wilbur Dow, started the NOSC in 1974 while running the highly successful Lake George Steamboat Company in upstate New York.
Matthew attended the Maine Maritime Academy where he majored in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Small Vessel Operations and International Business and Logistics, Prior to his permanent move to New Orleans, Matthew worked for the Lake George Steamboat Company for 16 years, and during his summers and holidays, he worked on the NATCHEZ, even stepping in as a calliope player! He completed his Master’s License in 2012.
As Director of Marine Operations, Matthew is the liaison between the marine crew and the Coast Guard, ensuring proper compliance with applicable regulations and keeping up a proper working relationship between the two groups. The job also comes with the responsibility of making sure that the marine crew has equipment and expertise to keep the boats operating 3 or more cruises a day.
“Matt has shown exceptional growth through the years and is extremely knowledgeable of how we operate,” says Capt. Wilson, a 45plus year veteran of that position. “His passion for the company and responsible work ethic will carry us into the future on all fronts”.
Captain Steve Nicoulin, Master, Riverboat CITY of NEW ORLEANS & Steamboat NATCHEZ
Steve Nicoulin came to New Orleans in 1975 while the Steamboat NATCHEZ was under construction in Braithwaite, Louisiana. The first master of the NATCHEZ, Captain Clarke "Doc" Hawley brought him here from the Belle of Louisville as a 17-year-old deckhand.
Captain Nicoulin, Sr worked his way up the ladder the hard way from deckhand, mate, then as 100-ton captain on the Sternwheeler COTTON BLOSSOM. From there he became a pilot on the NATCHEZ, and then Captain Hawley stepped down as Master after 20 year, and Captain Nicoulin was promoted to Master.
Captain Nicoulin, Sr. is a consummate professional respected by the other men of the river. For over 27 years he has led his crew to provide a safe and enjoyable steamboat experience on the river for over 12,500,000 passengers. And he is leading them forward to a new and exciting adventure in the years to come. Today he runs the Riverboat CITY of NEW ORLEANS as her first captain and master.
Captain Steven Nicoulin, Captain Steamboat NATCHEZ
Second generation Captain at New Orleans Steamboat Company, Captain Steven Nicoulin (son of Captain Steve Nicoulin, Vessel Master), learned the ways of the river as a child. Like a second home, Steven felt always at home on the Mississippi River. With that in his heart, his father welcomed him to the crew, first as a mate and working as an officer, and then completing his license as Captain. He has sailed the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. This Mississippi he says, "presents the biggest challenges with the strong current and heavy ship traffic.
The current of the Mississippi mean you must always be on your "A" game. The high-water during spring adds an additional daily change, depending on how much the water rises, how fast, and what it does to the current. Weather conditions add another layer to daily changes.
Captains are also leaders and responsible for their marine crew, their passengers and the staff that works on the boat daily. You teach and you lead, and first in your mind is always the safety of those with you. From crew safety drills to daily maintenance of the vessel, there is never a dull moment.
"Working alongside my dad has given me so much appreciation for all that rivermen do, and how much it means to them. I understand it, feel it, and hope one day to pass it on to my son."
Captain Charles Lardner, Captain Riverboat CITY of NEW ORLEANS
Captain C.J. as he is known to his crew, loved the river all his life and wanted to follow that dream. He joined the New Orleans Steamboat Company as a deckhand 15 years ago. Quickly showing his dedication, hard work and leadership qualities, he caught the eye of NATCHEZ's Master. Captain Nicoulin encouraged him to study for his Captain's license. With that support, and the support of the other rivermen, Captain CJ acquired his Captain's license and took his hand at leading the last authentic steamboat on the Mississippi River.
With the purchase and full renovation of the Riverboat CITY of NEW ORLEANS ahead, he worked alongside his boat mates in refurbishing the boat from demolition, through a full detailed renovation. You can see some of his work on the Pilot House. The Name Boards were carved and finished with gold lettering - done by his own hand. The boat set sail with him as one of her Captains in 2020.
Captain C.J. is always in intrigued by the nationalities and cargos traveling through the amazing Port of New Orleans. The strength of the river and its traffic presents a daily challenge that he loves and plans to make his life.