A Summer of Birds is a new LPB documentary that details a relatively unknown chapter in the life of the renowned naturalist painter John James Audubon. It premiered in December of 2009.
Based on the acclaimed book A Summer of Birds: John James Audubon at Oakley House by The Baton Rouge Advocate columnist Danny Heitman, the documentary chronicles the summer of 1821 which he spent in Louisiana at the Oakley Plantation in West Feliciana Parish.
Emmy Award-winning actress Sela Ward narrates the program, which features an original musical score by Suncoast Emmy winner Mike Esneault. Christina Melton (Atchafalaya Houseboat, Louisiana: A History) was Senior Producer, Director and Writer for the documentary. Liz Barnes (Return to the Forest Where We Live) served as producer for the project which was filmed and edited by LPB videographer Rex. Q. Fortenberry.
A number of people have contributed their time to the project including John House, Park Manager at Audubon State Historic Site and Michael Seymour from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Reenactors for the program were Daniel Novak, an LSU English professor who portrayed Audubon in the documentary, James Smith, Stephen Jones, Alexandra Kennon, Kathryn Ward, Cedric Williams, Desmond Hopkins and Danny Heitman.
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Credit: New-York Historical Society - "Great Egret," painted in Louisiana 1821