is a biographical novel about author Polly Broussard Martin’s father-in-law, Anatole Martin, and his spiritual journey, which transformed the religious landscape of the areas below Houma, Louisiana. Polly Broussard Martin writes with poignancy about Anatole’s unwavering faith in the Bible and his lifelong devotion to serving God.
Anatole’s life began April 23, 1882, in Bayou Blue, Louisiana, during a time when almost all South Louisianians were devout Catholics. He picked up his father’s Bible, one given to him by a Confederate soldier, and began to read. This first experience with the Bible led to his lifetime quest for spiritual truth and his dedication to spreading Christ’s message to his Cajun and Indian neighbors. Without any prior religious instruction, Anatole founded his own church, the Spiritual Church. He often traveled through the marshy, and sometimes dangerous, swamps in only a small pirogue, wanting to leave no one untouched by the gospel. After learning of the Methodist faith, Anatole became a Methodist convert. But in 1930, Anatole decided to enroll in correspondence classes to further his knowledge of the Baptist faith and was ordained a Baptist minister in 1936. His life was spent leading his neighbors into deeper spiritual lives, always looking to his Bible as his mentor.
This tenderly crafted novel serves not only as the story of one man’s extraordinary bond with his Bible, but also as a vital piece of historical literature on South Louisiana. Anatole’s untiring efforts to spread the gospel to his fellow Cajuns built the solid religious foundation on which South Louisianians now stand.