Thursday, March 24, 2011

Review: Acadiana: Louisiana's Historic Cajun Country

  • Author:  Carl A. Brasseaux
  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Louisiana State University Press (May 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807137235
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807137239

Product Description:


''Acadiana'' summons up visions of a legendary and exotic world of moss-draped cypress, cocoa-colored bayous, subtropical wildlife, and spicy indigenous cuisine. The ancestral home of Cajuns and Creoles, this twenty-two-parish area of south Louisiana encompasses a broad range of people, places, and events. In their historical and pictorial tour of the region, author Carl A. Brasseaux and photographer Philip Gould explore in depth this fascinating and complex world.

As passionate documentarians of all things Cajun and Creole, Brasseaux and Gould delve into the topography, culture, and economy of Acadiana. In two hundred color photographs of architecture, landscapes, wildlife, and artifacts, Gould portrays the rich history still visible in the area, while Brasseaux's engagingly written narrative covers the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century story of settlement and development in the region. Brasseaux brings the story up to date, recounting devastating hurricanes and coastal degradation.

From living-history attractions such as Vermilionville, the Acadian Village, and Longfellow-Evangeline State Park to music venues, festivals, and crawfish boils, Acadiana depicts a resilient and vibrant way of life and presents a vivid portrait of a culture that continues to captivate, charm, and endure.

For all those who want to explore these people and this place, Brasseaux and Gould have provided an insightful written and visual history. 

About the Author:


A native of Acadiana, Carl A. Brasseaux is the author of more than thirty books on French North America. In June 2010, he retired as director of the Center for Louisiana Studies, director of the Center for Cultural and Eco-Tourism, director of the Press, professor of history, and managing editor of Louisiana History--all at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Philip Gould is a freelance documentary/architecture photographer born in Massachusetts
and raised in California's Bay Area who has made Louisiana his home and favorite subject since 1974. His photographs have been published in over a dozen books as well as periodicals from around the world.

My Review:

What a fabulous book filled with gorgeous photographs and wonderful descriptions!  There is an introduction at the beginning to set the stage for the world of the Acadians of Southern Louisiana.  Each chapter describes a different Acadian Louisiana region.  Photos abound of the landscape both natural and man made.    Beautiful antebellum mansions, typical Cajun homes, and remnants of slave cabins populate this extraordinary landscape.  There is an interesting photo of the remains of St. Luke Baptist Church on page 54 that was built by former slaves in the 1880s then fell out of use in the 1950s and is now barely standing.  Everyone moved on as the economy of the area changed.

As a huge fan of James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux series which takes places in Acadia, I particularly enjoyed Chapter 5: The Lower Prairie Region which focuses on St. Martinsville and New Iberia.  Included are photos of Bayou Teche and the region that is featured in the novels.

I highly recommend this collections of pictures, stories and information regarding one of the most fascinating regions of the United States.  It's much more than a beautiful coffee table book; it is a history of the societal changes that occurred in the Acadiana region over the past two hundred years.    It is a record of the history of this ever changing region up to the present day.

I was provided an ebook copy of this galley through Net Galley for the purpose of this review.

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