Decoding Louisiana: The Louisiana Field Guide Reveals the Unique Cultural Life of the Pelican State

11/19/2014 10:34 AM

BATON ROUGE – In Louisiana, every bite of food and turn of phrase is an expression of cultural literacy. Correctly pronouncing “Tchoupitoulas” or “Atchafalaya,” knowing the difference between the first Gov. Long and the second one, being able to spot the artwork of Caroline Durieux, and honoring the distinction between a Creole and a Cajun roux serve not just as markers of familiarity, they represent acts of preservation. “The Louisiana Field Guide: Understanding Life in the Pelican State,” published by LSU Press, expands on this everyday communion of history, delving into the cultural patchwork that makes the Gumbo State both thoroughly American and absolutely singular.

An authoritative lineup of contributors reintroduces Louisiana through the lenses of environment, geography, history, politics, religion, culture, language, sports, literature, film, music, architecture, food and art. Whether describing the architectural details of the Ursuline Convent in the French Quarter or sharing the family history of Bourgeois’ Meat Market just outside of Thibodaux, the essays in “The Louisiana Field Guide” present a fresh and expansive look at the enchanting and perplexing Pelican State.

At once an accessible primer and a rich omnibus, this volume explores the well-known destinations and far-flung corners of Louisiana, from Cameron Parish to Congo Square, offering an enlightening companion guide for visitors and a trustworthy reference for residents.

Ryan Orgera received his doctorate in geography from LSU and serves as the Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow in the office of U.S. Senator Bill Nelson in Washington, D.C.

Wayne Parent, the Russell B. Long Professor of Political Science at LSU, is a political commentator and the author of “Inside the Carnival: Unmasking Louisiana Politics.”

For more information, contact Jenny Keegan at 225-578-6453 or or visit

Ernie  Ballard 
LSU Media Relations

Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2014