Just A Swinging Furniture

By Matt Williams - bio | email

The sound of saws cutting through wood has been coming out of one part of Livingston Parish for about 30 years. Just A Swinging is a shop that takes Louisiana Cypress and turns into Louisiana furniture. James Carter has been breathing sawdust for decades and couldn't be happier.

"I was an electrician for over 20 years, hated every bit of it," he said. I'd rather do this. My dad loved to work with wood. I did too."

The love of wood-working has passed down to the next generation as well. Jim Carter has been doing this with his dad for 23 years and it's not just the job he loves, it's where he does it. He loves Livingston Parish.

"If they would have ever thought about getting out, I would have taken over and just been right here," Jim Carter said. "Like I said, I moved out for four years and couldn't wait to get back."

It's been very challenging, though. The shop has flooded five times in the last 40 years, as the Amite River backs up the property and when it really swells, the house floods also, or at least it used to. They just had it jacked up better than 10 feet. The solution was adjusting, not moving.

"Was there ever any thought of leaving Livingston Parish?  No.  Like I said, this is home. This is it. It don't get any better than this," Jim Carter said.

So, they continue to turn out piece after piece. In the last 30 years, they figure they've put together about 300,000 pieces of furniture and that's a conservative estimate. Many of the pieces are scattered around their home. Matt Williams has a swing the family made about five years ago. It's in the backyard. The swing has made it into a lot of pictures over the years because the kids love it and it's that love of place that has kept this family in Livingston Parish for a lifetime.

"It's just a tight-knit group of people who know each other. Everybody gets along," James Carter added.

That's why they have never left. The house has gone through some major changes, the business has been put on hold at times because of an angry river, but Livingston Parish is their home. There's no place else they'd rather be.

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