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Artists' vessel grounded in St. Louis

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(T. Chandler/Miss Rockaway Armada)
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By Maria Hickey, KWMU

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kwmu/local-kwmu-629797.mp3

St. Louis, MO. – What some have described as an "art barge" abruptly ended its voyage on the Mississippi River near St. Louis this weekend.

They called it the Miss Rockaway Armada - some 30 artists, musicians, and craftspeople set off from St. Paul, Minnesota and planned to float to New Orleans.

Their vessels were made of Styrofoam and plywood that were tied together.

Coast Guard Commander Mark Cunningham says he was concerned about the safety of the craft past the last lock and dam where the river moves faster.

So, the Coast Guard was on hand Sunday when the boats began to take on water and helped move them to shore.

"I think in some ways we were all kind rooting for them, you know we would like to see them make it, because they put a lot of effort into this thing, and we were just trying to help them out the best we could," Cunningham said. "We didn't want to have any life emergencies on their hands or our hands."

Cunningham says the armada's crew is safe, but he says it's unlikely they'll launch again this year. Effort to reach the group have been unsuccessful.

Click on the 'listen' icon above to hear KWMU's Maria Hickey's interview with Cunningham.

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