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Bayou Farewell
The Rich Life and Tragic Death of Louisiana's Cajun Coast
Written by Mike Tidwell

Bayou Farewell
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Category: Travel
Imprint: Vintage
Format: Trade Paperback
Pub Date: March 2004
Price: $16.00
Can. Price: $18.00
ISBN: 978-0-375-72517-3 (0-375-72517-2)
Pages: 384
Also available as an eBook.



 
Mike Tidwell knew nothing of the disappearing bayou country when he first visited the Cajun coast of Louisiana, but the evidence was all around him: the skeletons of oak trees killed by the salinity of the groundwater, whole cemeteries sinking into swampland and out of sight, telephone poles in deep, standing water. Thanks to human hands, the storied Louisiana coast was eroding, subsiding, and joining the Gulf of Mexico—making it the fastest disappearing landmass on Earth. Yet no one seemed to know how to talk about the problem. Tidwell, a celebrated travel and environmental writer, decided to begin the much-needed conversation, and this vivid, elegiac book is the result.

Tidwell introduces us to the surprisingly varied population of the area: the Cajun men and women who work the seasonal shrimp harvest, the Vietnamese fishermen, the Houma Indians driven to the farthest ends of the bayou by the first European settlers. He describes the food, the music, the culture, and the life of all those who live along the bayous. Under his keenly observant eye, the bayou itself becomes a compelling character—reminding us of how much we stand to lose if we fail to address the problems facing this most vibrant of places.

Part travelogue, part environmental exposé, Bayou Farewell is the richly evocative chronicle of the author's travels through a place and a way of life that are vanishing virtually before our eyes.

“From the healer who cures a baby with smoke to the fishermen and shrimpers who have risked their lives for decades only now to see a whole way of life threatened, Bayou Farewell is a sad, beautiful, and compelling journey. You fall in love with the people and the place.”
—Rick Bragg, author of All Over but the Shoutin’ and Ava's Man

“Stunning, beautifully written, the best book on Louisiana I have ever read. Tidwell has captured the soul and heart of the Cajun people and describes the loss of their Acadian culture, their beloved wetlands, and their way of life more accurately and poignantly than any other writer I know of.”
—James Lee Burke, author of White Doves at Morning

“Tidwell has written an inspired and sharply beautiful book. Bayou Farewell stands as elegant reminder and testimony that we can’t afford to not act. This book, more than any I have read in a long time, stands in service to the future.”
—Rick Bass, author of The Hermit's Story



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 
Mike Tidwell is the author of four previous books, including In the Mountains of Heaven and Amazon Stranger. His work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Reader's Digest, and The Washington Post. He is the recipient of an NEA fellowship and two Lowell Thomas Awards for travel journalism. He was born in Tennessee, raised in Georgia, and now lives in the Washington, D.C.area.





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