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Peep Light - Stories of a Mississippi River Boat Captain

Peep Light

Stories of a Mississippi River Boat Captain

By Lee Hendrix
Hardcover : 9781496848185, 216 pages, January 2024
Paperback : 9781496850362, 216 pages, January 2024

An illuminating record of fifty years as a pilot on the mighty Mississippi River


Most people only consider the Mississippi River when they cross it or when it inconveniently abandons its banks. But every year, millions of tons of cargo are transported by towboats on the river. In Peep Light: Stories of a Mississippi River Boat Captain, Captain Lee Hendrix provides unique insight on people who work and live on and near the Mississippi River. Hendrix, formerly a pilot for the Delta Queen Steamboat Co., has worked on the Mississippi for fifty years, first as a towboat deckhand in 1972 and eventually as a pilot of towboats and passenger vessels. In 2014, Hendrix became captain of the towboat Mississippi with the US Army Corps of Engineers, then he later retired to return to passenger vessels. For Hendrix and others like him, he is at home on the river, living and dining with the same people they work with, working with familiar faces for years at a time and yet meeting new people every day.

Demonstrating a fascination not only with the river but also with the passions and dreams of those who live and work on it, these stories range from personal reflections on aging, experiencing one’s first night on the river and the complex emotions that come with it, working on the deck, promotion to pilot, the characters working aboard these boats, and the history of the river itself. Peep Light unites humans with the river through engaging storytelling and sheds light on Hendrix’s rare experience along one of the most powerful and important waterways in the world.


"Peep Light: Stories of a Mississippi River Boat Captain is a one-of-a-kind book about the folkways and lore of barge and towboat crews on the Mississippi River. These are stories filled with suspense, humor, and heart."

- Macon Fry, author of They Called Us River Rats: The Last Batture Settlement of New Orleans

"Lee Hendrix knows the river like the back of his hand and has piloted everything from kayaks to the biggest boats to ever ply the Mississippi, but his most impressive accomplishment may be his skill in navigating his way through a good river tale. So, climb up to the wheelhouse, make yourself comfortable on the liar’s bench, and enjoy the cruise."

- Reggie McLeod, editor and publisher of Big River Magazine and recipient of the National Achievement Award from the National Rivers Hall of Fame