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Memories of Life on an 'Atchafalaya Houseboat'

In the 1970s, Gwen Carpenter Roland was about to start work on her doctorate when she decided instead to live off the land -- and water -- in the Atchafalaya River Basin Swamp in south-central Louisiana.

With a box of crayons and the book How to Build Your Home in the Woods, Roland and her then-partner, Calvin Voisin, built a houseboat on a barge. They lived there for six years, with no electricity and no running water.

Roland has written a book about the experience, Atchafalaya Houseboat: My Years in the Louisiana Swamp. She talks to Melissa Block about existence in the swamp -- the everyday routines and the unexpected pleasures -- and how she views that part of her life now.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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