Downtown Thibodaux StoryWalk takes visitors on adventures

THIBODAUX, La. (AP) — Visitors to downtown Thibodaux can now embark on a storybook adventure as they stroll down Third Street.

The Downtown Thibodaux StoryWalk is a collaboration between Main Street Thibodaux and the Lafourche Parish Public Library. Readers follow the numbered page of a storybook displayed in windows along West Third Street or they can scan the QR code on the map.

Starting from Margo Battaglia’s dance studio at 604 West Third St., visitors can follow the story page by page to the end of the march at Takerz Pro Boxing Gym, 409 West Third St., next to the new Little Free Library, where visitors can take a book or leave a book.

The pages are displayed at a low height so young readers can easily see the images as the story unfolds, organizers said.

Thibodaux Main Street executive director Danielle Stein said StoryWalk had been in the works for two years but had been delayed by the pandemic and Hurricane Ida.

“I had first heard of the StoryWalk project in 2020, during the height of the COVID pandemic, when communities were looking for safe activities for families to take home from school and work,” said Stein said. “A story would be published, page by page, in neighborhood yards and encourage families with young children to get outside for fresh air, a nice walk and a fun story to tell.”

Stein said the idea came about last year while touring the new Thibodaux Library addition with Lafourche Library System Director Laura Sanders.

“I mentioned my idea of ​​wanting to install a StoryWalk in downtown Thibodaux, but because of our lack of green space, we might install the pages in shop windows,” Stein said. “She loved the idea and we immediately started making plans to bring the project to life.”

The current story, “Feathers for Lunch” by Lois Ehlert, will be up until mid-May. The stories will be changed periodically to keep the project fresh, Stein said.

“We will start discussing our next story in April,” she said. “We’re tracking QR scans to see how many people are engaging with the StoryWalk, which will help us determine when it’s time to change the story. We plan to change the story for different seasons or holidays and also incorporate some that encourage movement or activity.

The project not only helps promote literacy and physical activity, but also gives downtown businesses an opportunity to attract a captive audience, Stein said.

“Our primary goal for the Downtown Thibodaux StoryWalk is to promote literacy among young readers,” she said. “Having families engage in physical activity while enjoying StoryWalk and our downtown businesses gaining captive audiences right at their windows is lagniappe.”

David H. Henry