Weekend Reads: Bayou Farewell, by Mike Tidwell

As you all know, I’m nearly finished writing Bayou Fire.  As of last night, I have one more research book I want to read before I claim that I’m really putting final touches on the first draft.  Last night, I finished Bayou Farewell, which is one of the most poignant pieces of non-fiction I’ve ever read.

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

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m not going to lie; this book was a hard read. Not because it was difficult, or the vocabulary was outside my abilities, but because it talked so plainly about the loss of coastal wetlands in south Louisiana.

Journalist Mike Tidwell hitched rides of shrimp boats, crab boats, oil rig tenders and more to write what he thought would be an interesting travel story. Instead, what he got was a story that caused him to quit his job and become an environmental activist (I am not kidding). He spent time with Cajun and Vietnamese people living deep in the bayous, who were literally watching their land disappear under water (Louisiana loses the equivalent of a football feed every 5 minutes now because levees that protect the towns also stop the sedimentation that creates new wetland and barrier islands).

Tidwell shows us the faces behind the tragedies, interesting characters ranging from a local healer to a Vietnamese man whose family came to Louisiana after the fall of Saigon and who wants nothing more than to go home.

The personal stories bring the land loss home in a way that mere statistics cannot. Highly recommended.

View all my reviews

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