DAY 107 – WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 23

CONVENT TO RESERVE (ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH) We arrived in Reserve at Our Lady of Grace Church, a historic Catholic Church Sanctuary now used as to house Historic Riverlands, a nondenominational Church which also offers tours focused on the Church’s history in African American life in Southern Louisiana as well as tours on the “Soul River Musical Journey,” chronicling the history of African American music which we would learn more about later in the day. Robin greeted us as she shuttled some young children over to the adjacent preschool center for photo day. We received our instructions for our first …

DAY 106 – TUESDAY, OCTOBER 22

ST. GABRIEL TO CONVENT/LUTCHER (ST. JAMES PARISH) We left St. Gabriel, Louisiana on bike. It’s forty miles to Convent, Louisiana and it’s all along the River Road which follows the levee downriver. Normally we like to leave a town and enter a town on foot, but today we needed to cover some miles and there’s not really a “town” of Convent. Wikipedia does describes it as a census-designated place, though. After arriving in Convent, we drove on to Lutcher, Louisiana to meet with some locals from St. James Parish. The format was across-the-table interviews. We were set up at an old home on Main Street and …

DAY 105 – MONDAY, OCTOBER 21

BATON ROUGE TO ST. GABRIEL The rain came earlier than expected. We thought we might be able to get an early start and stay dry, but it wasn’t in the cards. Tom took off down the levee from LSU—already soaked just by walking from the van to the top of the levee. The view of the Mississippi River from the levee was good. It’s a wide river here with barges, ships, and workboats moving up and down. Refineries and industry are common along this stretch—and surprisingly, so are cows. Cattle ranches on the dry side of the levee are abundant. …

DAY 104 – SUNDAY, OCTOBER 20

BATON ROUGE LAYOVER We had a 10:30 AM meeting at The Water Institute of the Gulf. It was a beautiful day, 80 degrees and sunny, so Tom and I walked along the levee path to get there. We were having a special event on the dock that day to thank everyone who’s been involved and supported the project. After getting a few things arranged with my mom and the caterer, we headed back downtown to meet the family at the Capital City Grill. A quick lunch and good conversation with my Aunt Connie and Uncle Van who came in from …

DAY 103 – SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19

BATON ROUGE: SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY TO LSU We started our morning back at Southern University by the Red Stick Monument, and Tom ran out of campus heading south. It’s Saturday and things are quiet on the campus—the stadium empty with Southern’s football team at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas this weekend for a big conference game. I watched Tom cross over the railroad and run down the Scenic Highway before heading on to find the exchange. Thankfully, traffic was light as the route took Tom past the Exxon/Mobil complex along the river. There isn’t much for pedestrian accommodations along this stretch, …

DAY 102 – FRIDAY, OCTOBER 18

ST. FRANCISVILLE TO BATON ROUGE (RED STICK) It was an overcast and misty morning with rain threatening but never really materializing. We came down US Highway 61 the whole way. There was heavy traffic with fast-moving vehicles. Technically we landed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but our specific point of entry was Southern University and A&M College – Baton Rouge, LA where we spent the day. Campus Security seemed to know we were coming, as they waved us along the riverfront drive all the way to the Red Stick monument. My parents were there waiting for us, and soon after we met up with …

DAY 101 – THURSDAY, OCTOBER 17

NEW ROADS TO ST. FRANCISVILLE Community Coffee “especial” helped us open our eyelids after the late—and somewhat raucous—night before with Aimee and the Ewing brothers in New Roads, Louisiana. We walked over to breakfast at the Country Café, literally walking right into George as we opened the door to the establishment. He joined us at the table for a few minutes, making sure to “take care” of our breakfast as it were, but he couldn’t stay long. Festival prep awaited, and there was much to do with things kicking off in just one more day. We packed up the van and Tom …