Reading series offers a space for creatives that reflects our connection to the river

The River Writers series started, of course, on the river.

“My friends and I would go down to the levee after a night out and just sit around hanging out and challenge each other with our best lines about the river,” co-organizer Vincent Cellucci says.

Not long after, Cellucci and fellow writer Taylor Gorman launched the reading series. Held upstairs at Boudreaux and Thibodeaux’s downtown, River Writers was open to all writers. The event gave voice to creatives and poets to express themselves and their ties to the Mississippi River.

That was in 2008, and after a brief hiatus, the River Writers Reading Series is back and opening new doors for creatives.

The readings now take place monthly at The Parlor in Beauregard Town. The intimate workspace has also hosted plenty of musical performances and art exhibits after hours, so organizers felt it was the perfect space for creative writers to share their work.

“Living in Baton Rouge, we don’t have enough of a connection to the river,” Cellucci says. “We are so close, but it’s not part of our consciousness as it probably should be. To me, that’s the place I go to be inspired because I realize how much more is going on there than, say, a cocktail party.”

Toi Sibley performs some of her poetry at a February River Writers event.

Gorman on why they decided to bring back River Writers:

“Even though there are university-hosted readings, I liked having something that was not tied to LSU. Anyone can read, and anyone that wants to be a part of the literature community at all in Baton Rouge can be a part of River Writers. You don’t have to feel like you’re representing a university or a journal or anything. You can just reflect where you live.”

Cellucci on selecting The Parlor as a venue:

“What’s most exciting about The Parlor is that it’s a mixed- used space, so there are rivers of possibilities. We’d like to bring in some musicians and take advantage of that, having some art and having it be a little more open, but still focused around the creative writing community,”

Find the reincarnated River Writers on or near every last Thursday of the month at The Parlor. If you would like to read or attend, reach organizers on their blog, 225riverwriters.blogspot.com. Check out their Facebook page for more information on upcoming shows.