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Timeless Journey
Down the River
Searching for a Home

In the antebellum 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?

On October 2-7, 2014, Quapaw Canoe Company and Search for the Healthy City will join forces to follow Huck ‘n’ Jim’s quest for freedom on the muddy Mississippi River. The full description can be seen at

Mark Twain’s book will be our road guide, or better said our river guide. Using the St. John’s College Great Books Program for a 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 the shady leaves of 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.

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 (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 conducts Search for the Healthy City travels/seminars in exotic all over the world, most notably Tuscany and Venice. Jim 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 first novel, The End of Healing, will be published next month, in September 2014. Paul is the assistant to the Dean’s Office, and a master of arts graduate from the Eastern Classics Program of St. John’s College, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Paul was Charles Bell’s personal secretary in the sunset of his long fruitful life. John is a canoe builder and guide on the Lower Mississippi River.

Seminars will be held from October 2 to 7, 2014, starting and ending at the Cutrer Mansion Center for Continuing Education in Clarksdale. All other seminars will take place on the river. There will be a Tennessee Williams Festival party on Friday the 3rd, and live blues performance with final supper at Bluesberry Cafe on Monday, Oct 6th.

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!

For more information please contact:
John Ruskey 662-627-4070
Jim Bailey 901-278-9453
or Paul Cooley
Lower Mississippi River Dispatch
courtesy of the
Lower Mississippi River Foundation

Illustrations by Edward W. Kemble

Published in the 1884 Adventures of Huckleberry Finn