Wild Louisiana: One Book One Community celebrates our swamp roots [Sponsored]

Sponsored by EBRPL


In the 1970s, Gwen Carpenter Roland was about to start work on her doctorate when she decided instead to live off the land—and water—in the Atchafalaya River Basin Swamp in south-central Louisiana.

This spring, the East Baton Rouge Parish Library is connecting Baton Rouge again through its One Book One Community initiative. The 2022 selection, Atchafalaya Houseboat: My Years in the Louisiana Swamp is the tale of the not-so-simple life Gwen chose—days spent fishing, trading, making wine, growing food, and growing up—told by Gwen with grace, economy, and eloquence.

Gwen decided to leave civilization and re-create the vanished simple life of her great-grandparents in the heart of Louisiana’s Atchafalaya River Basin Swamp. Without power tools or building experience, Gwen and her then-partner, Calvin Voisin constructed a floating dwelling complete with a brick fireplace. Towed deep into the sleepy waters of Bloody Bayou, it was their home for eight years.

ONE COMMUNITY: Get involved with special events and programming 

OBOC events will be held throughout the parish and will include schools, libraries, colleges, businesses, and community groups. Free programs will begin in March and will run through April 2020. Visit ReadOneBook.org for information, resources, and a complete schedule of events.

— Kickoff Party: Saturday, March 5 at 4 p.m. at the Main Library at Goodwood.
Enjoy a free, outdoor celebration in the plaza with delicious local food, crafts, games, engagement with community organizations, and live zydeco music from RJ & Kreole Smoove.

— Louisiana Brown Pelicans – Past, Present & Future: Sunday, March 13 at 3 p.m., Main Library at Goodwood. The Brown Pelican is Louisiana’s state bird and an iconic species of the Gulf of Mexico. Learn about its ecology and natural history, past conservation success stories, and current and future conservation challenges. Speaker Robert Dobbs is the nongame avian ecologist for the Wildlife Diversity Program at the Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries, an avid birder, and active in the birding community, particularly through the Louisiana Ornithological Society.

Film Screening of Atchafalaya Houseboat: Saturday, March 20 at 3 p.m., Main Library at Goodwood. This LPB documentary is based on the book by Gwen Roland and features the breathtakingly beautiful photographs of C.C. Lockwood.

— Adventures of a Louisiana Birder with Author Marybeth Lima: Sunday, March 27 at 3 p.m., Main Library at Goodwood.
Author Marybeth Lima will speak about her book, Adventures of a Louisiana Birder: One Year, Two Wings, Three Hundred Species. A Q&A session will follow her discussion.

Atchafalaya Houseboat book discussion: Thursday, March 31 at 7 p.m., Main Library at Goodwood.

— ‘Des Cris de Joie’: Roots of Music on the Atchafalaya: Sunday, April 10 at 3 p.m., Main Library at Goodwood.
Join Nicholls State University history professor Dr. Stuart Tully on an examination of the international roots of Cajun, Zydeco, and other genres from the Bayou Region.


Author Gwen Roland

— Atchafalaya Houseboat Author Talk and Q&A with Gwen Roland
Saturday, April 23 at 2 p.m., Main Library at Goodwood.

— Pass It On: Skills & Stories with Gwen Roland
Sunday, April 24 at 3 p.m., Main Library at Goodwood.
Atchafalaya Houseboat author Gwen Roland will share the importance of passing on skills and stories to your loved ones.


OBOC is for the whole family

— Thursday, March 24 at 10 a.m., Main Library at Goodwood.
Children will listen to White Rabbit’s Colors by Alan Baker, then create paper flowers, one to take home and one to add to our One Book One Community bulletin board. (Ages 2-5)

— Saturday, March 26 at 2:30 p.m., Jones Creek Regional Branch Library: Make your own toad abode!
Children March 26 at 2:30 p.m., Jones Creek Regional Branch Library: Make your own toad abode!

Visit ReadOneBook.org for a complete schedule of events and branches.