A deliberately lit fire destroyed the boat, named The Ospry, last July. The case remains unsolved. Chuck Carlberg, the chairman of the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, says losing the boat was a tragedy. Still, he says the partnership tried to look on the bright side.
"You know, as we say, ‘Never let a good tragedy go to waste.’ We have a bigger and better boat. It really kind of created a lot of awareness for Buffalo Bayou Partnership."
Without The Ospry, the partnership had to suspend its boat tours while it raised money to pay for the new vessel, called The Spirit of the Bayou. The partnership has been offering boat tours of the bayou since 2005. Carlberg says the tours give people the opportunity to see another side of Houston.
The Ospry after arson
"This tour really sets a history of Houston. You go on the east, towards the east, and you see where Edison had its first electric plant here in Houston, Texas, where we had meat packing; we had lumber mills. Right here at the turning basin where the old barges used to turn around, right here where White Oak comes into Buffalo Bayou. So this is really the beginning of Houston, Texas."
The partnership is considering storing the new boat in a different location along the bayou for security reasons.