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(Huck and Jim by Thomas Hart Benton)

"We said there weren't no home like a raft, after all. Other places do seem so cramped up and smothery, but a raft don't. You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft."
- Huck Finn

Lower Mississippi River Dispatch
No 254, Monday, August 25, 2014

(1884 Illustrations by Edward W. Kemble)

Search for the Healthy City

In the mid 1800s Huck and Jim departed Hannibal, Missouri, in search of better place to live. Huck was escaping an abusive father, and Jim was fleeing slavery. Together they began a timeless journey down the river, on a raft, searching for a home. Searching for a healthy home. Did they ever locate the freedom they so passionately sought?

In just six weeks (Oct 2-7th) we will be following Huck ‘n’ Jim’s adventure in the search for the healthy city… from a big canoe on the muddy Mississippi. And you can join us!

(Our Guideboook)

Mark Twain’s book will be our road guide, or better said our river guide. Using the St. John’s College Great Books Program as our model, we will embark upon an entirely new kind of journey on the Lower Mississippi River with several great works of American Literature as our teachers. A 30 foot long cypress-strip voyageur canoe and serene sandbar islands will be our classroom. Seminars will be held en plein aire under giant cottonwood trees and by the dancing light of the campfire. Back in town we’ll continue the conversation at the Cutrer Mansion and the Clark House.

(One of our teachers)

See details at:

In addition to Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, we’ll also be enjoying selections from Life on the Mississippi, Charles Bell’s poetry (from Millennial Harvest), the Rivergator’s Wreck of the Raft (from I Am Coyote) as well as TS Eliot’s Four Quartets, and selections from Melville’s Confidence Man.

St John alums Jim Bailey, Paul Cooley and John Ruskey will lead the trip. Jim Bailey conducts Searching for a Healthy City seminars all over the world, most notably Tuscany and Venice.

Does freedom ring? Will Huck ‘n’ Jim find a healthy city in the 21st Century? Join us October 2-7th and help us shed light on the lingering questions. Help us discover the dialogue leading towards the Healthy City. It’s just around the bend!

Huck ‘n’ Jim Search for the Healthy City,” a new way of experiencing the river through the eyes of Mark Twain, Herman Melville, TS Eliot and Charles Bell!


Melville: Selection from Confidence Man

Twain: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Twain: Selections from Life on the Mississippi

TS Eliot: Four Quartets: Dry Salvages

Coyote: Rivergator (wreck of the raft)

Charles Bell: supplemental reading from Millenial Harvest: Poems round the campfire

Seminar Schedule:

Friday seminar Huck Finn (first half)

Saturday seminar (on river) - Huck Finn (Second half)

Sunday seminar (on river) - Life on the Mississippi and Confidence Man

Monday seminar -Dry Salvages and Rivergator passage

Search for the Healthy City

On the Mighty Mississippi October 2-7, 2014

“ when I couldn't stand it any longer, I lit out.”

- Huck Finn on leaving town

Join us for a magical journey into the world of Mark Twain and Huckleberry Finn. This study tour will be held in Memphis, Tennessee, Clarksdale, Mississippi, and on the great waters of the mighty Mississippi. We’ll spend two nights at the Clark House in Clarksdale before heading out to paddle the Mississippi River in large voyageur canoes with the Quapaw Canoe Company and camp on the banks of the river for two nights, As we descend Mississippi’s Muddy Water Wilderness we’ll have seminar discussions on Mark Twain’s greatest work, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and seek to discover what a good town is really like. Anyone interested in finding a way to a healthier community is welcome. St. John’s College alums Jim Bailey and John Ruskey will serve as trip organizers. A detailed agenda with reading assignments will be emailed to participants in advance of travel.

Huck ‘n’ Jim Search for the Healthy City Itinerary:

Thurs. October 2 – Memphis.

(am: Tour Memphis on your own if you want)

4 – 8 pm –Meet at the Bailey house (1458 Vinton Ave.) for reception, beer & BBQ

8 pm – Bus to Clarksdale

10 pm –Arrive at The Clark House (

Fri. October 3 –Clarksdale. Morning activities including teaching about the river and paddling lessons. See sights in Clarksdale. Lunch, free time, seminar 3:30 - 5:30 pm, cocktails, dinner.

Sat. October 4 and Sun. October 5 – On the Mississippi. Canoe the Muddy Waters Wilderness section ( with Quapaw Canoe Company. 9am meet time. Paddle in morning. Lunch on the river. Set up camp and have seminar with the Mighty Quapaws 3:30 - 5:30 pm, dinner. Read Huck Finn by the campfire and read Charles Bell poems.

Mon. October 6 –Clarksdale. Return to the Clark House and Seminar 3:30 - 5:30 pm. Closing dinner party at Bluesberry Cafe.

Tues. October 7 –Departures. A bus will leave Clarksdale, MS at 9 AM for arrival at take you Memphis International Airport by 10:30 AM and will proceed to Amtrak Memphis Central Station for connections to Chicago or New Orleans, or downtown Memphis as needed. Book your flight departing Memphis no earlier than 11:30 AM in order to allow adequate time.

For complete description, details, and signup forms, please go to:

Jim and Sharon Bailey lead Search for the Healthy City travel/seminars in exotic locations around the globe. Now on the Mississippi River. Jim Bailey is a fellow in the American College of Physicians and professor of medicine and preventive medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, where he directs the Center for Health Systems Improvement, cares for the sick, and teaches doctors in training. His research appears in peer-reviewed medical journals, including JAMA, Journal of General Internal Medicine, and Annals of Internal Medicine. Dr. Bailey has an abiding passion for the classics, medical history, and ethics, and believes that sharing our stories can heal. His first novel, The End of Healing, will be published at the end of 2014. See Jim’s other offerings at Read about the End of Healing a t

Upcoming Paddling

and river-related Events

on the Lower Mississippi River:


Aug 30-31

Memphis Music & Heritage Festival (Labor Day Weekend)

Downtown Memphis Tennessee

Daytrips on the Mississippi River in our Big Canoes with the Mighty Quapaws!

Aug 29-30

Mississippi River Naturefest

Tara Wildlife Preserve, Eagle Lake, Mississippi

Go to for more info.


Sept 20-21

Mississippi River Bear Dance

(send inquiry email for more info)


October 2-7

Huck ‘n’ Jim Mississippi River Great Books Seminar

A entirely new way to look at the river: through great literature, including Twain, Melville, TS Eliot, and Charles Bell.

October 3-4

Tennessee Williams Festival

Celebrating America's Great Playwright

Clarksdale, Mississippi

Go to for schedule and more information

October 8-11

King Biscuit Blues Festival

One of the world’s greatest blues festivals

On the levee of the Mississippi River

in downtown Helena Arkansas

For complete schedule, go to:

October 11

Phatwater XIII Mississippi River Challenge

The Ultimate River Race on the Lower Mississippi!

This year you can paddle with a team of Mighty Quapaws!

learn more at:

October 14-15

Mississippi River Network Annual Meeting

October 15-17

Mississippi River Conference

October 17-19

Colton Cockrum’s Annual

Be-A-Man Expedition


Nov 15-25

Rivergator Celebratory Expedition:

St. Louis to Caruthersville

307 miles on the Mississippi River

Celebrating the Lower Mississippi River Water Trail


Dec 6-16:

Rivergator Celebratory Expedition:

Vicksburg to Baton Rouge

207 miles on the Mississippi River

Celebrating the Lower Mississippi River Water Trail


March 2015:

Atchafalaya River Expedition

From Three Rivers WMA to the Gulf of Mexico

via Morgan City

April 2015:

Rivergator Expedition:

Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico

including Plaquemines, New Orleans and Venice

October/November 2015:

Rivergator Completion Celebration Expedition:

St. Louis to the Gulf of Mexico

1180 miles on the Middle and Lower Mississippi River!

Lower Mississippi River Dispatch
brought to you courtesy of the:
Lower Mississippi River Foundation
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