In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

118Southern Cultures South that is much more complex than most people realize. Lawrence Brasher's study should encourage others to study equally representative men and women in other movements —pentecostalism, fundamentalism, the many Churches of God. As they do so, however , they should begin to wonder how much such phenomena are peculiarly southern, especially if they realize that there are at least as many holiness folk in Nampa, Idaho, as in Smithfield, North Carolina. Where the River Runs Deep: The Story of a Mississippi River Pilot. By Joy J. Jackson. Louisiana State University Press, 1993. 273 pp. Cloth, $29.95. Reviewed by Lynn Roundtree, a rare book and manuscript appraiser and owner of Triduum Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Joy Jackson's Where the River Runs Deep sets out to tell two stories: first, the life of the author's father, OliverJackson, who spent most of his life on or near the Mississippi River, and second, the modern "history of the river between Baton Rouge and the Gulf." Jackson provides us with an unusual entree into both the little-known world of ship's pilots on the nation's greatest inland waterway and the ordinary lives of a white working-class family in the towns, cities, and river hamlets from the mouth of the Mississippi north to the bluffs at Baton Rouge. The book begins with the arrival of the Burat family (Oliver's forebears) in Louisiana in the 1720s. The Jackson family ancestors hailed from the same tiny spit of land, the BaIize , at the mouth of the river where first the French and then the Spanish had established colonies. Jackson offers an evocative account of the lands, waters, and people of the lower coast—both in the tightly-knit French communities and in the rough-and-tumble world of the "branch pilots" at the mouth of the Mississippi. Jackson then focuses on the course of Oliver's life (1896-1985), which meanders around the Mississippi Delta and the Gulf coastal plain. The narrative tracks his boyhood at the family's ancestral home at Point Eads, Louisiana, and his work as a ship's mate on river and seagoing tugboats in the mid-1920s, as the pilot of a canal steamer plying the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway between New Orleans and Galveston, and as a thirty-year river pilot between the great river ports of New Orleans and Baton Rouge at the outset of the oil and petrochemical industry along the lower Mississippi. Where the River Runs Deep is a loving remembrance ofJackson's father and a careful reconstruction of his life and of those of his family members along the river. Jackson is at her best when evoking Oliver's environs, whether the primal vastness of the Mississippi Delta or the melange of cultures cheek to jowl in the immigrant neighborhoods of turn-ofthe -century New Orleans. She has collected poignant reminiscences of bygone ways of life and work along the lower Mississippi: oyster fishing in coastal bays, the surreal life among the jetties and dredges at the outposts of South Pass in the early years of this century , the opening of the Acadian prairie country with the building of the Intracoastal Waterway in the early 1930s, and the hard-won skills and revered traditions of the elite fraternity of river pilots. Jackson's account of the lives of the men in these "closed corporations " of river pilots and the changes those men witnessed is both informed and insightful. But Where the River Runs Deep is neither fish nor fowl—a strange cross between a Reviews119 competent family history and a full-fledged social and economic history of the lower Mississippi Valley. For all of her skill at reconstructing her family's life along the lower Gulf Coast, Jackson fails to deliver on the promise "to tell the story of the river itself." While Jackson ably provides secondary treatments of river commerce, rivermen, and the growth of industry along "the American Ruhr," the book lacks the lyricism and sweep of Hodding Carter's Lower Mississippi. There are two shortcomings to the book. First, Jackson often misses the opportunity to draw larger connections to history. For example, readers will...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1534-1488
Print ISSN
1068-8218
Pages
pp. 118-119
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.