'Queen of Beale Street' weathers rough waters

Ruby Wilson
Ruby Wilson

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Memphis' 'Queen of Beale Street' was back home Thursday with an amazing story to tell about being stranded at sea.

Ruby Wilson was "trapped in paradise" in the form of a Carnival cruise ship that she, Andy Childs and others performed on as part of an annual cruise for Elvis fans.

Wilson said the cruise was supposed to last five days, but that changed when Hurricane Gustav threatened the Mobile, Alabama port where the ship was scheduled to dock

"We had to turn around and go back to the spot where we were and wait it out," she said.

The ship, and all the Elvis fans on board, had to stay at sea for three extra days, something that did not go over well with some passengers.

"They were walking around sad," she said. "I mean, we are talking about the richest of the rich."

To lighten passenger spirits, cruise ship staffers organized games and other activities, and the cooks in the kitchen got busy.

"We ate a lot a food, and they kept cooking for us," Wilson said.

She and the other performers pitched in too, doing their best to keep everyone calm.

"We sang, sang and sang until we got laryngitis," Wilson laughed.

The engagement, which was only supposed to last until Sunday, was extended far beyond, with musicians playing even when they were supposed to be off the clock.  As for the experience, Wilson summed it up as all in a days work.

"It was great, and I would do it again because the people was great," she said. "We were accepted and respected."

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