Jane Goette grew up in a sugarcane parish on Louisiana’s rural River Road in a family where political debate, storytelling, news, and poetry were spicy condiments served with every meal. Her ancestors fought on opposing sides of the Civil War; their unresolved conflicts reappeared in the Civil Rights/Vietnam era of her youth...and in today’s conflicts over national identity and social justice. Her life is an American story.
3:15 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Cavalier House Booksellers Tent
A River Road Memoir: Coming of Age in a Small South Louisiana River Town in the 1950s and 1960s
A River Road Memoir is a journey through a young girl’s idyllic childhood in the rural South to her restless adolescence when the Civil Rights struggle becomes urgent and personal to her family. The unfolding story is told through the second daughter’s eyes. Jane is a serious child, the one her father calls, “a tree full of owls,” always thinking, observing, wondering about meanings.
Jane is three when the Goettes move into an old house on River Road, bordered by pastures and sugarcane fields with the Mississippi River in front. Invisible threads of history form the tapestry of a story that began before her birth when her mother and father’s families fought on opposite sides of the American Civil War. Unresolved conflicts continue around the family table as the Civil Rights movement evolves, the Vietnam War begins, and chemical plants spring like poison mushrooms along the river.
Set in the 1950s and 1960s, the conflicts reflected in this book are hauntingly familiar to readers today as Americans continue to battle over the nation’s identity and values.
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