Atchafalaya Houseboat: My Years in the Louisiana Swamp

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9780807130896: Atchafalaya Houseboat: My Years in the Louisiana Swamp
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In the early 1970s, two idealistic young people -- Gwen Carpenter Roland and Calvin Voisin -- decided to leave civilization and re-create the vanished simple life of their great-grandparents in the heart of Louisiana's million-acre Atchafalaya River Basin Swamp. Armed with a box of crayons and a book called How to Build Your Home in the Woods, they drew up plans to recycle a slave-built structure into a houseboat. Without power tools or building experience they 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. This is the tale of the not-so-simple life they made together -- days spent fishing, trading, making wine, growing food, and growing up -- told by Gwen with grace, economy, and eloquence.
Not long after they took up swamp living, Gwen and Calvin met a young photographer named C. C. Lockwood, who shared their "back to the earth" values. His photographs of the couple going about their daily routine were published in National Geographic magazine, bringing them unexpected fame. More than a quarter of a century later, after Gwen and Calvin had long since parted, one of Lockwood's photos of them appeared in a National Geographic collector's edition entitled 100 Best Pictures Unpublished -- and kindled the interest of a new generation.
With quiet wisdom, Gwen recounts her eight-year voyage of discovery -- about swamp life, wildlife, and herself. A keen observer of both the natural world and the ways of human beings, she transports readers to an unfamiliar and exotic place.

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About the Author:

Gwen Roland, former editor for the Southern Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, continues to write about agriculture and self-sufficient lifestyles from her homestead in Georgia.

From Publishers Weekly:

In the late 1970s, Roland and Calvin Voisin made a decision to live a pleasantly isolated life: they constructed a houseboat in Louisiana's Atchafalaya River Basin Swamp, caught their own food and made money by trading and welding. Roland and Voisin revel in their isolation, and the joy Roland takes in retelling her experiences is evident on every page. The book is enhanced by nature photographer C.C. Lockwood's photographs, which depict the couple going about their daily houseboat business (and were published in National Geographic). Roland's writing, most of which was done at the time, is highly accessible if at times disjointed. It's hard to discern an exact sequence of events, and certain things seem to happen out of nowhere, like when Roland leaves Voisin for another man, whom she marries. The end of the book, in which Roland discusses her fascination with organic gardening pioneer Robert Rodale and sketches her life today, makes for a less than satisfying ending to an otherwise intriguing look at a disappearing way of life. Photos.
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Book Description Louisiana State University Press, United States, 2006. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In the early 1970s, two idealistic young people -- Gwen Carpenter Roland and Calvin Voisin -- decided to leave civilization and re-create the vanished simple life of their great-grandparents in the heart of Louisiana s million-acre Atchafalaya River Basin Swamp. Armed with a box of crayons and a book called How to Build Your Home in the Woods, they drew up plans to recycle a slave-built structure into a houseboat. Without power tools or building experience they 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. This is the tale of the not-so-simple life they made together -- days spent fishing, trading, making wine, growing food, and growing up -- told by Gwen with grace, economy, and eloquence.Not long after they took up swamp living, Gwen and Calvin met a young photographer named C. C. Lockwood, who shared their back to the earth values. His photographs of the couple going about their daily routine were published in National Geographic magazine, bringing them unexpected fame. More than a quarter of a century later, after Gwen and Calvin had long since parted, one of Lockwood s photos of them appeared in a National Geographic collector s edition entitled 100 Best Pictures Unpublished -- and kindled the interest of a new generation.With quiet wisdom, Gwen recounts her eight-year voyage of discovery -- about swamp life, wildlife, and herself. A keen observer of both the natural world and the ways of human beings, she transports readers to an unfamiliar and exotic place. Seller Inventory # AAC9780807130896

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