The rise and fall of GulfQuest

The $60 million GulfQuest National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico closed in November 2016, after just 13 months in operation. Lagniappe's series of news stories, investigations, commentary and reviews raised questions about its feasibility before the doors even opened. BY LAGNIAPPE STAFF

The rise and fall of GulfQuest

City asking GulfQuest to cough up utility payments, as agreed

According to Executive Director of Finance Paul Wesch, GulfQuest National Maritime Museum has not been holding up its end of an agreement with the city to pay its utility bills. Wesch said the city and GulfQuest had reached an agreement about a year ago where the city would pay the building’s monthly utility costs then bill the museum quarterly. Since entering into the agreement, GulfQuest has yet to make a single payment, Wesch said, noting they owe roughly $400,000. “Three quarters went by, we billed them each time and they did not pay,” he said. The city has given...

Read More

GulfQuest attendance numbers remain unclear

After more than eight months in operation, GulfQuest National Maritime Museum officials are not making attendance numbers public. Museum spokeswoman Diana Brewer said the numbers would be released in September when GulfQuest has been operational a full year. “We have not gone through the tourist season … ,” Brewer said, explaining a year’s worth of data will allow GulfQuest’s “new type of attractions” and “new concept” to take hold. “We’re excited to see how that works out.” But attendance has been “good, not great,” she admitted, and the museum has done well with out-of-towners but struggled to lure locals...

Read More

GulfQuest’s myriad lessons

First order of business: If you’re going to GulfQuest National Maritime Museum, you’d best free up a sufficient section of your agenda — the better part of a day should suffice. You wouldn’t suspect it from the outside or the title alone, but there’s a lot more to GulfQuest than its name suggests. Cranes and cargo are a small slice of the focus in the building nestled riverside between the Arthur Outlaw Convention Center and the Alabama Cruise Terminal. A wide vision is evident in the impressive rotunda inside the front doors and its central attraction. Below a skylight...

Read More

GulfQuest opens after years of delays

More than five years have passed and more than $60 million has been spent, but Sept. 26 marked the official opening of the GulfQuest National Maritime Museum on the bank of the Mobile River — billed as “the first museum dedicated to the Gulf Coast’s rich maritime traditions, and one of the only interactive maritime museums in the country.” The museum’s first day saw a little more than 1,300 guests come aboard, GulfQuest spokeswoman Diana Brewer wrote in an email Monday morning. Those figures included ticket sales, children under 5 years old and complimentary visitors. The museum celebrated its...

Read More

GulfQuest ready for its debut

The massive Dallas Cowboys stadium that can hold 100,000 people, has a retractable roof and two 60-yard-long television screens took less time to build. At $62 million — $28 million of that city’s taxpayer money through two bond issues and $14.6 million in federal funding — it’s half-again as expensive as Connie Hudson’s soccer/swimming/water park complex dream. And it’s already been declared an abject failure by many citizens tired of the delayed openings and burned out by Mobile’s build-it-and-they-will-come approach to tourism. Despite all of that, GulfQuest is about to open. Properly known as (deep breath) GulfQuest National Maritime...

Read More