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Chenier Plain

Chenier Plain

By Richard B. Crowell
Foreword by Jacques L. Wiener Jr.
Hardcover : 9781496806949, 280 pages, 150 b&w and color illustrations and maps, October 2015

The lushly illustrated story of a true sportsman’s paradise


Richard B. Crowell chronicles the history and economic development of a region in southwest Louisiana defined by unique geologic formations and distinguished by its position beneath the Mississippi flyway. Crowell traces the evolution of this region's well-known sport hunting legacy, creating the first comprehensive narrative history of the area, from 1800 to today.

In Chenier Plain, the author takes a fresh look at the decline of French and Spanish influence in coastal Louisiana and investigates an isolated region struggling to find its place against inhospitable conditions following the Civil War. Less than a decade after Reconstruction, Jabez Bunting Watkins, financed by an English syndicate, began developing this remote region through tenacity and aggressive business practices. Crowell tells this story of economic development, weaving it together with personal tragedies and natural history. In chronicling the Chenier Plain's transition from a center of market hunting to one of sport hunting, Crowell draws together over 140 illustrations. He highlights the opportunistic land purchases by a US president, British and American businessmen, a university president, and an illiterate French-speaking Acadian whose property became the nexus of The Coastal Club, the oldest hunting lodge in the geographic region.

These events, combined with the background of six hunting clubs established before 1929 and modern methods of waterfowl habitat conservation, illustrate how inextricably linked sport hunting is to the life and preservation of this remote Louisiana world of ridges and marsh.


His book offers a timely and engaging look at how private hunting clubs historically linked with conservation efforts and early industrial development in the area. . . . Those interested in the coastal environment, wetland conservation, wildlife management, and hunting culture will find this book particularly appealing.

- Jason P. Theriot, Louisiana History