A towboat drifts down the Mississippi River, due for the port of New Orleans. The water, the banks, the bright lights of a port ahead, the lure of a coming paycheck and a home-cooked meal: This is the world of Barge. On board, dry land's misfits find purpose and direction twenty-eight days at a time as the steady hands of an industrial ecosystem teeming with line boats, fleet boats, and a few million tons of cargo moved each year. Amongst the crew are a green deckhand following his father and grandmother into their family business, a former convict working his way upward in hope of being First Mate, a thirty-eight-year-old veteran engineer in no hurry to retire, all on the ancient waterway pulling a double shift as the backbone of the national economy. As long as the boat's moving, they're making money. Barge is an intimate portrait of the machinery of American ambitions.
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