Fonville Winans had been to Louisiana before — in 1928 to work construction. But in 1932 he really got into Louisiana. And it got into him and he never left. The celebrated photographer’s black and white images of the people and places of coastal Louisiana, shot during a sometimes arduous excursion along the bayous and canals during the summer of 1932, are a well-known and invaluable account. Less familiar is the detailed journal he kept during the three-month sojourn, now published with scores of photographs in Cruise of the Pintail: A Journal ($35 hardcover, LSU Press). Written in an easy prose style with an eye for detail, Winan’s journal begins on Tuesday, June 6, 1932, the day he and friend Bob Owen drove out of Fort Worth in a Model T Ford to pick up a third companion, Don Horridge, in Marshall, Texas. Their destination was Morgan City and a nautically challenged, rudderless sailboat called the Pintail waiting at the dock. “All day we traveled through the hills and swamps and the farther south we got, the more enchanting became the country,” Winans writes the next day. The same can be said of the journal: the deeper into it we get the more enchanting it becomes, chronicling through mid September of the same year a journey through landscapes and cultures that were mostly exotic and unknown, even to Louisianans living outside the coastal parishes. In composite, Cruise of the Pintail is a captivating portrait of a Cajun culture unperturbed by the advance of American civilization, and of the adventurous young photographer who brought it to life. — Walter Pierce

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