The original French section recreated Fort St. Louis, which was established by French explorer Rene Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle, along the Lavaca River, near Matagorda Bay. The Fort was established in 1685 and abandoned four years later.
The original attractions consisted for the reconstructed Fort, which had a lookout post that children could enter, LaSalle's River Boat Ride, and Pierre's Treasures, a small gift store.
The major change to the section was the removal of the Riverboat ride, to be replaced in 1983 with the Roaring Rapids. Most of the structure of the fort is still in place, although the lookout post is no longer open.
LaSalle's River AdventureLaSalle's River Adventure
La Salle's River Adventure
1961 - 1982
[Click on Pictures for Larger Views]
La Salle's River Adventure was one of the original rides, opening with the park in 1961. Located in the French section, the fleet of French riverboats traveled the replica of the Lavaca River until 1982, when the ride was closed to make room for the roaring rapids. The last trip was on August 15, 1982.
The ride was part of the recreation of Fort St. Louis that constituted the French section. Fort St. Louis was established by Rene' Robert Cavelier Sieur de La Salle on Matagorda bay in 1685.
The riverboat captain was also the ride narrator. The ride started with an explanation that a more experienced riverboat captain and two trained river scouts, Jacque and Pierre, had been sent up ahead.
Around the first corner, however, it was discovered that the river outpost had been attacked by Indians. The riverboat captain has been killed. The crew goes on, in hopes that Jacque and Pierre are still down the river.
The boat travels a little further to one of the ride's, and the park's, most impressive animations. The boat comes face to face with a recreation of a Spanish fort. As the boot approaches the fort, a Spanish conquistador rises up from behind the fort wall and waives his sword. On his signal, the fort's three cannon begin to fire, sending water shooting up all around the boat.
The boat survives, only to find Jacque and Pierre hanging from a tree. Not wanting to risk the Spanish fort again, the boat travels on through a French and Indian cross-fire, past wild animals, more Indians, and past a beaver colony, where a tree falls just inches from the boat.
The finale of the ride came as the river dead-ends into a water-fall in front of a rock-wall. The river is too narrow to turn around, so the Captain is forced to simply stop the boat. As the boat stops, the water pouring down in front of the rock wall suddenly diverts and begins rushing down the side of the rocks. As it does, the rock-wall opens, revealing a cave.
The boat moves forward again, entering the cave. When the boat is completely inside the cave, the rock-wall behind the boat closes, trapping the boat. The cave is revealed to be an Indian treasure cave, with the remains of prior explorers and treasure.
In exchange for not bothering the cave's contents, the cave's front doors open and the boat travel's out, only to discover that it has traveled back to Fort St. Louis. Another safe journey.
The 25 foot fiberglass boats ran on a track which was composed of a slightly deeper channel in the middle of the river A tire mounted sideways on an axel descend from the front and back of the boat. The tires rode inside the channel, guiding the boat around the river.
A small antenna wire on the top of each boat triggered the various animations when it contacted small wires running across the river just before each scene.
A docking area next to the Spanish fort was home for seven of the boats. This was also the location from which boats could be placed and removed from the water.
After the ride was closed, some of the boats were sold to the nearby 'Lion Country Safari' amusement park. It eventually closed. A few of the boats were given outboard engines and actual steering capacity and are still in service as tourist boats at Cypress Bayou in Jefferson County, Texas.
River PicturesRiver Pictures parktimes Sat, 08/21/2010 - 13:55
Spiel - 1970sSpiel - 1970s parktimes Sun, 08/15/2010 - 11:37
LaSalle's River Adventure Spiel
Six Flags Over Texas
Good day my friends, I would like to welcome you aboard our little French Riverboat the [Nadine, Elizabeth (Belle), Juliet, Annabelle, Henrietta, Suzanne, Marguerite, Maria, Isabelle, Paulette, Georgette]
I am your captain and as we pull away from the dock, I would like to remind you to keep your arms and legs inside the boat at all times, for if you leave them out for just a 'little too long', ....they may come back a 'little too short'.
Leaving the Dock
Boat pulls away from dock and starts around a corner
For we will be traveling down the dangerous Lavaca river which in 1861, our leader, Cavalier De LaSalle sailed looking for an alternate route to the Mississippi River. But he has was never been heard from since.
So that we don't meet up with his same fate, I have sent ahead a French Riverboat captain and two river scouts, Jacques and Pierre, there camp should be just around this bend,
but wait? /excited voice/.... oh no? it looks as though the Indians have attacked the camp.
a campsite; fires burning from the battle;
dead Indian figures laying on the ground;
dead riverboat pilot lying on a sea chest with an arrow in his back
There is our river boat captain, lying on his chest. That's him in the arrow shirt. It looks as though he got the point of the Indian message.
But I don't see our river scouts, Jacques or Pierre, anywhere about, perhaps they escaped with their lives and we can find them as we continue our journey down the river. I certainly hope so, because we will be lost without them.
Over to my left is a pack of hungry timber wolfs and it looks like they had someone over for dinner. I don't think that they will be bothering us.
Pack of wolfs sitting around a pile of bones.
Over to my right is a more friendly scene. Some friendly Tejas Indians are helping the Friar build the Mission San Francisco de los Tejas.
Partial log mission, Indians carrying logs
Friar looking at scroll and nodding up and down.
You know, though, they have been building that Mission for 17 years and they still aren't through. Maybe they should just rename it....'Mission Impossible.'
But wait, /quietly/ up ahead is a Spanish Fort. And as you all know, Spain and France have been at war for ten long years over this little piece of land known as Texas. Perhaps if we are very quiet, we can sneak by. But wait, they have spotted us.
Spanish Officer raises up in the fort watch tower
and drops his sword signaling the cannons to fire.
Each of three cannons begin to fire, three times each.]
- // As the cannons fire
Oh no. I near miss to the front and another to the side. We will have to abandoned ship, Women and Children first, AFTER THE CAPTAIN OF COURSE. But wait, they have stopped. It appears as though the Spanish can't even hit the broad side of a little French River boat and we can continue on our journey in safety.
But don't look to my right. There's Jacques and Pierre, our two French River Scouts, hanging from that tree.
Jacques and Pierre
Two French river scout type figures
are hanging by their necks from a tree branch.
- It looks like they are at the 'ends of their ropes'.
- Oh Jacque and Pierre, they always were the 'swingers of the swamps'.
- There they are, just 'hanging around'.
- It seems that they found the last 'stretch of the river.'
I guess we will just have to travel on without them, but wait, look up in that tree, it is the Famous French Fur Trapper, Francis. I'll just ask him if it is safe to go on.
French fur trapper sitting high in a tree, shaking his head.
- // Yell out of the boat.
- Francis, is it safe to go on?
Look, as you can clearly see, he is shaking his head back and forth, which in French means ? 'no.' We could turn around, but I don't think we would get past that Spanish Fort again, so we will have to continue onward.
You can also see Francis shaking his leg back and forth. After 17 years in that tree, I think that is French for... 'I need to go to the restroom.'
But wait, did you hear something ahead?
- //popping sound
Oh no, we are caught in a cross fire between these Indians on this side and our own Frenchman on the other. Everyone down to the bottom of the boat, for it would be quite a shame to be shot by one of our own country men.
I think that we made it safely by.
But look what the Indians have done to those barrels of wine. Once King Louie finds out what is happening to the wine that he is shipping to Texas, he will start sending Milk instead.
We have now entered the most dangerous part of the river, the 'uncharted territories'. As you can see, everywhere are dangerous alligators, just waiting to make a meal of us. Why I have been told that there was once an English Teacher that stuck her hand outside of the boat right here,
Oh no, everyone down, that's a Caddo war party and those arrows are poisoned tipped, one scratch would mean instance death. That was very close, luckily they have decided not to fire.
- War Canoe
beside the boar on the other side, a bear pops up and growls
Don't worry, that just a bear fishing for his dinner in the river.
Over here is a Caddo Indian burial pier, the Indians buried their dead six feet above the ground in the hopes that that would give them a head start to the happy hunting grounds above.
Here a momma bear and her cubs are stealing some honey from those bees. And boy are those bees mad. Then again, I bet you would be pretty mad if you came home one night and found out that some animals was ? trying to steal 'your honey.'
Over here is an Indian village and the Medicine man is trying to ward off the evil sprits.
- Indian Village
But wait, //excited// if you look carefully, you will see that all of the warriors are gone from the village. And when all of the Indian warriors are gone from an Indian village, it can only mean one thing,
.....'they are somewhere else.' Lets hope that we don't find out where.
Wait, everyone quite, there's a cougar looking for his dinner, one wrong move and we will be it.
Quite everyone, ? careful,
- cougar is on a branch hanging out over
the river next to the boat, slowly the
boat passes the cougar by.
- // Very loud scream:
on no, look out.
// calmer // - I thought he had that little fat man at the back of the boat.
Bear fighting Timber wolfs
- Large bear waving off five timber wolfs.
Here to my right a bear is fight off a pack of hungry timber wolfs. And as you can clearly see, he is fighting them... 'bear handed'. I bet that he will... 'barely' escape from that situation. I just can't ...'bear' to watch.
Look though, there are only five wolfs in that pack. If there had been one more, that poor bear would have been up against 'a six-pack'.
Oh no, everyone to the side of the boat, as you can see on my right, there's a river whirlpool dragging that poor soul to a watery grave.
hand sticking up from the water
holding a stick going
around (causing?) in a whirlpool
There is one thing that I can say about him however, he sure knows his way 'around' this swamp?
....and around? and around?w
Over here is a more friendly scene, a group of beavers are hard at work building a dam. But wait a minute, look out,
- Beavers standing in clearing near small tree
- //excited// that tree is going to fall,
T I M --- B E R.
Why, I do believe if that tree had been just a little bit longer, this boat would have been ....just a little 'bit shorter'.
'Leave it to Beaver' to pull a stunt like that.
It seems that one have come to a fork in the river and I don't know which way to go. I guess we should try this way.
But look out, everyone down. We are surrounded by Caddo Warriors. I guess we should have gone the other way.
Indians on both sides of the River
threaten the boat with spears and arrows.
Everyone smile and perhaps they will think we are friendly. It looked like it worked, they are letting us pass,
but, oh no, here is why. We are heading for a waterfall and a solid rock wall behind it. The river is much to narrow to turn around here and we can't go back past those warriors. I guess this is the end of our journey
ahead is a Water fall and behind it is a solid rock wall.
- // The captain stops the boat.
But wait, the wall is opening.
- // Boat starts back up.
We must have discovered a secret Indian treasure cave, for the Indians were known to hide their treasure in caves such as this.
treasure chest with dead skeletons. (as opposed to live skeletons?)
looks more like a pirate cave than an Indian cave.
// skeleton swings out from the dark.
It looks like that pour sucker has been on 'a crash diet'.
There is the treasure, it looks like many that have tried to take it have paid with their lives.
Oh no, the walls behind us are closing, we are trapped inside.
- // boat moving very slowly.
But wait, the walls in front are opening, the Indians are repaying us with our lives for not disturbing their treasure.
And look, there is the flag of France, viva La France, we have made it back to Fort St. Louis and safety.
Back to Dock
- Back where we started
As the boat approaches the dock, I would like to remind you to keep your arms and legs inside the boat and please remain seated until the boat comes to a complete stop.
I hope you enjoy your day here at fun filled Six Flags Over Texas.
Crew claps and cheers and goes wild.
End of Spiel
Unloading Spiel: // in sort of a rambling manner.
Please watch you head as your heading out, and watch your step as your stepping out, but most importantly of all, watch out for my poor aching feet.
You see I have been standing on them all day long, and so have about a hundred other people. The difference is, I like to stand on the bottoms, and they like to stand on the tops.
Why just this morning a spaceship full of half-crazed Martians landed at the front gate, got out of their ship, checked their brains in at the public lockers and came down here just to step on my feet.
Enjoy your stay here at Six Flags Over Texas and remember that there is only [insert exact count] shopping days left until Christmas.
A few notes about this Spiel:
- This is not a verbatium copy of an "official spiel". which was handed out to employees. That was more of a guideline to help each employee get started.
- This is very similar to what was actually said during the 1974-77 seasons.
- Each "River rat" spieled differently from the official spiel, other employees. Even an individual's own spiel could vary between trips. Each captain had alternate remarks for the various animations and added comments if the boat was running slow.
- The spiel also changed over time, especially since the animations were occasionally changed.
- Around 1975, one boat was renamed the "Belle" in honor of Alan Bell, a supervisor at the time, which was interesting, as one of La Salle's boats was actually named the Belle.