Books about Cajun culture
October 12, 2017 11:51 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for books, fiction or non-, about Cajun culture in Louisiana.

Here's the paragraph that got me interested, from John McPhee's Control of Nature:

"The old life of the basin is not entirely gone. It is true that people don’t collect moss anymore to use in stuffing furniture, true that the great virgin cypresses are away. Their flared stumps remain, like cabins standing in the water. From the beginning of the nineteenth century, Cajuns made their lives and livings in the swamp. Their grocery stores were afloat, and moved among them, camp to camp. It is true all that has vanished, and the Cajuns live outside the levees, but they and others-operating for the most part alone or in pairs—go into the swamp and take twenty-five million dollars’ worth of protein out of the water in any given year. The fish alone can average a thousand pounds an acre, and that, according to Fryling, is “more fish than in any other natural water system in the United States”—two and a half times as productive as the Everglades. The fish are not in the conversation, however, when compared with the crawfish."

As a landlubbing northerner, that seems so interesting to me. Are there novels or nonfiction books that go into detail about this way of life and the way it's changed through to the present? I'm thinking of something a little bit like Karen Russell's great Swamplandia!, but set in Cajun Louisiana.
posted by Rinku to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
James Lee Burke.

His daughter, Alafair Burke, also writes crime novels, but it's been long enough since I read one them that I don't remember how Cajun they are.
posted by Bruce H. at 12:16 PM on October 12 [3 favorites]

You might like Tim Gautreaux's Next Step in the Dance.
posted by scratch at 5:52 AM on October 13

It may sound really odd to recommend a cookbook but "Who's Your Mama, Are You Catholic, and Can You Make a Roux?" is one of those cookbooks where every recipe is preceded by a story from the author about how the recipe fit into her life in southern Louisiana. They're fun, personal stories and the recipes are damn good, too.
posted by ElKevbo at 6:40 AM on October 14

You may also want to try J. J. Reneaux. She's a Cajun storyteller who has put out a few books about Louisiana and Cajun culture. Here's her website.
posted by Francis7 at 1:57 PM on October 19

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