Born by the River – A Musical Pilgrimage Toward Restoration and Healing happening Sunday

Published 10:30 am Tuesday, March 7, 2023

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WALLACE–The Descendants Project, in partnership with Birdfoot Festival, is hosting Born by the River – A Musical Pilgrimage Toward Restoration and Healing at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 12. The first-of-its-kind event in the River Parishes will begin at Whitney Plantation located at 5099 Highway 18 in Edgard and end at the Fee-Fo-Lay Cafe located at 5593 Highway 18 in Wallace. 

 Musicians will perform at each stop, with shuttles providing transportation for participants  to the destinations. Musical selections include pieces from noted New Orleans Composer Edmond Dédé, Opera Créole, Negro spirituals, and contemporary songs. the event is free; however, organizers request participants to register at

  Described as a musical journey that traces the connections between “past and present and the deep times that bind together the land, the river, and the residents of St. John the Baptist Parish,” the non-profit organizations will utilize music, local narratives, and movement through the landscape to acknowledge the past, honor the present, and plant hope for the future.

 Community Outreach Manager for the Descendants Project, Stephenie Aubert, expresses her excitement in bringing the event to her hometown of Wallace, stating, “Born by the River will be my first time participating in an experience that combines chamber music, opera, and gospel. Celebrating the pilgrimage in my beloved community of Wallace, with its rich heritage and rurality, will make the moment that much more prized for me, and I hope for others.” Aubert will join Shelly Dents and Danita Rayfield as St. John the Baptist Parish locals lending their talents to the March 12 event.

  Joy Banner, founder and Director of the Descendants Project, shares that she is delighted to sponsor and organize the musical pilgrimage. Banner states, “Part of our mission as the Descendants Project is to honor and acknowledge our unique and rich heritage. Born by the River Musical Pilgrimage will help us do that while creating a space for healing and hope.” In addition to advocating for healthier and happier living conditions for residents who live in the area known as Cancer Alley, the Descendants Project also supports the community through cultural events, job fairs, and expanding economic opportunities outside of the heavy industry. Collaborating with Bird Festival is one of many cultural programs the Descendants Project plans to continue enriching residents’ lives along the Mississippi River.