In an extraordinary feat of research and intrepid historical navigation, Carl A. Brasseaux and Keith P. Fontenot serve as guides through the labyrinthian and often harrowing world of Louisiana bayou steamboat journeys of the mid to late nineteenth century. The bayou country’s steamboat saga mirrors in microcosm the tale of America’s most colorful—and most highly romanticized—transportation era. But Brasseaux and Fontenot brace readers with a boldly revisionist picture of the opulent Mississippi River floating palaces: stripped-down, utilitarian freight-haulers belching smoke from twin stacks, churning through shallow swamps and narrow tributary streams, and encountering such hazards as shoals, sawyers, stumps, highwater and dry-bed seasons, and the remains of vessels claimed by those treacheries.
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.
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