The Cajun coast of Louisiana is home to a way of life as unique, complex, and beautiful as the terrain itself. As award-winning travel writer Mike Tidwell journeys through the bayou, he introduces us to the food and the language, the shrimp fisherman, the Houma Indians, and the rich cultural history that makes it unlike any other place in the world. But seeing the skeletons of oak trees killed by the salinity of the groundwater, and whole cemeteries sinking into swampland and out of sight, Tidwell also explains why each introduction may be a farewell—as the storied Louisiana coast steadily erodes into the Gulf of Mexico.
Part travelogue, part environmental exposÉ, Bayou Farewell is the richly evocative chronicle of the author's travels through a world that is vanishing before our eyes.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: Bayou Farewell|
|Release Date: 12-18-2007|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||Bayou Farewell|
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Chapter One"You want to do what?" says Papoose Ledet, his balding head sticking out the forward hatch of a whitewashed shrimp boat. He's changing the oil of his 671 Detroit diesel engine-and that's all I see: his head sticking up out of the foredeck.
I stand opposite Papoose on a wooden wharf, my backpack hanging from my shoulders, my sleeping bag held on by bungee cords. I explain my idea of hitchhiking down the bayou on boats just as two of Papoose's sons whiz past me. They're carrying bundles of green shrimp netting and various ropes to be employed during the night's trawling just ahead. A gaggle of laughing gulls hover noisily overhead.
My idea makes no sense at all to Papoose judging by the look on his face. He pulls himself out of the forward hatch and walks slowly toward the gunwale nearest the wharf, eyeing me intently, wiping grease from his hands with a rag. His sun-weathered face squints in the midafternoon June heat, sending remarkable creases from just below his eyes all the way to his jawline. We don't shake hands.
"You ever been down de baya before?" Papoose asks in his heavy Cajun accent. Down here the word "bayou" comes out "baya" and "down de baya" means, in effect, "our home," chez nous, that watery rural Louisiana place located at the very end of the world just the way locals like it. Not too many outsiders, lost or otherwise, wander this deep into the region. And certainly none walk up asking for rides aboard working shrimp boats.
"No," I tell Papoose, lowering my backpack to the wharf. "This is my first trip down here."
"What about shrimpin'?" he asks. "You know anyt'ing about shrimpin'?"
"No," I say a...