Gumbo Island

What if you could instill confidence, curiosity and the desire to try something new in young children? What if you could show them something new and interesting about the state in which they live?


GUMBO ISLAND is a Louisiana culture and history show for Photo: Gumbo IslandKindergarten through 4th grade aimed at multi-disciplinary learning. Each show visits locations and people around the state. Young host Britt Henderson models for youngsters the polite way to approach new situations with a sense of adventure and curiosity. The shows features the use of something Britt calls a Gumbo Island Adventure Journal. Teachers are encouraged to use this opportunity to start students building their own "adventure journals" featuring facts, pictures and things they find interesting. Children are encouraged to shout "Gumbo Island" when Britt asks for help in a magical transport.

Lesson Plans: Gumbo Island Adventure Guide (pdf format, 0.5 MB)

Gumbo Island Adventure Guide: A State of Art (html format)

The First Louisianians
Children visit the Chitimacha Nation of Charenton and archeological finds at Poverty Point State Commemorative Area in Epps. A Chitimacha boy shows Britt his tribal school. They talk with his grandmother about "the old days." He shows Britt his Chitimacha "regalia," the costume he wears during important tribal dances. At Epps, childrean learn that an ancient Louisiana people built a large ceremonial mound shaped like a bird, and they learn how the early Indians cooked their meals. The music video teaches children the names and locations of Louisiana's federally-recognized Indian tribes.

A State of Art
Children visit New Orleans and Natchitoches to learn about two world-famous Louisiana artists who arrived at their crafts through two very different envoronments, but who each found their own ideas to be what set them apart and made them special. Edgar Degas, the famous impressionist, is in focus in New Orleans. Clementine Hunter, the renowned folk artist, is profiled with a trip to Melrose Plantation in Natchitoches. Check out the catchy music video about self-expression sandwiched in-between!

Highway for a Nation
Children learn about the Mississippi River, the third largest river in the world! Britt tours a barge operation on the Mississippi at the Port of Baton Rouge, to learn what the river means to business in America, and learns the difference between a tugboat and a towboat. Britt learns about the cultural impact of Mississippi River travel on the American Queen riverboat in New Orleans, and then learns how the Army Corps of Engineers tries to control the river at the Old River Control Structure. A music video recaps all that is learned in the show

Birds & B-Flats
Viewers learn how practicing a craft can lead to excellence in a study of naturalist artist John J. Audubon and the Louisiana Youth Orchestra in Baton Rouge. Britt tours the home where Audubon stayed in St. Francisville, and happens to meet the "ghost" of the artist, who then shows her around. Britt and viewers are then transported to Baton Rouge for a look at youngsters practicing for a big concert. Young violinist Mary Charmichael explains that practice helped her develop the confidence to play well and earn a spot in the orchestra. Youth Orchestra conductors James Byo and Timothy Bergman demonstrate the four "families" of the orchestra, and a music video at the show's end is a refresher on the musical families.

Louisiana Traditions
Children visit Jeremy Martin and his central Louisiana farm family. Jeremy raises pigs, turkeys, horses and prize-winning sheep. He explains that family members each carry responsibilities on a farm, and that he's proud to help. Britt then travels to Opelousas for a trip to the Palace Cafe and a visit with a Creole heritage storyteller. There's even a little folk medicine in this visit!

This video and the companion teacher guide are available to
Louisiana teachers and students on LPB CyberChannel.
It may be obtained on ShopLPB.
It also airs on LPB ITV. Click here for broadcast dates.

Link to the LPB Learning Port.
Click to return to the LPB Learning Port.

Link to LPB Interactive
Click to return to LPB Interactive.

Copyright © 2005 LETA Louisiana Public Broadcasting