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People of the Bayou Cajun Life in Lost America

This book gives the story of a vanishing culture in an affectionate way. It also tries to maintain their culture despite the influence of a pre-dominant culture. The book gives a closer look to the day to day life of this culture; you begin to feel their triumphs and challenges. This is a community that lives off the land at Mississippi delta. A land describes as marshy and with a view of endless green grass. This book brings you so close to the Cajon people especially their way of life you feel like your living with them.

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There is a lot of pressure for this community to change their culture, big oil companies want to develop the area. They view the indigenous people as undeveloped. This is a group of people have lived in South western Louisiana for over 2 centuries. These are people with a rich heritage they have also maintained their French language despite the predominant English. The area is a contrast to America which is a first world country filled with technology and transport by use of automobiles and air transport. In Bayou the main mode of transport is boat. The people ere are their brother’s keeper. They view strangers with a bit of suspension. But with time you get to find out that they are shy friendly people who are uninhibited.

This wetland is filled with marsh grass. This area is filled with many water bodies from ponds, lakes and canals. The worlds geographical features are changing due to global warming and rapid industrialization, Bayou is also not spared. Over the past 30 years, half million acres of marsh has vanished. The environment is rapidly changing; some species of plants are dying. The salty water is encroaching on their habitat killing their roots. The landscape is also changing because as water level rises, the island off-shore is now easily hit by storm surges.

The changes in environment from which the people depend on are denying the optimum use in order to earn a living. The oil exploration drilling is causing harm to the environment the Bayou people depend on. The trappers enjoy the migration that they make, in November they live their inland homes and move to the marsh. Their movement is similar to the migratory birds. They eat muskrat and nutria. They value their culture of trapping so much that Blaine says that he says that he does not regret dropping out at 7th grade. He says, “I’d probably have a different job somewhere an’ they wouldn’t let me take the reaping’ season off. I sure couldn’t take that” (Hallowell10).

The means of survival has to change for the Bayou people. According to the book some seasons produce food, some desperation (Hallowell 99).The Bayou are beginning to make changes in their life. Plans are underway to build a road to the village. Electricity has been put. This means that the community will catch up with the dominant American culture.

Likes about the book

The author has a clear method of bringing out the fast changes in the environment of the people of Bayou.he describes the marshy land as, ‘a lost piece of America about to sink into the Gulf’ (Hallowell 12).The problems experienced by people of Bayou are similar to the other parts of America. For instance fighting over scarce a resource is similar to those earning a living from the mash. The Daisy and Stelly families are no longer united; the cohesion in their society is breaking down. This is also similar to the fast world. We are living in an age where people are preoccupied with making money. Americans are working two jobs to support their families and improve their standard of living hence there is not enough time spent with family. This may have a direct link with the rising number of divorce cases.

Family participation in events such as thanks giving is important to Americans. This is a time for bonding, however on such days you find some Americans working away from home. The declining cohesion in families is also experienced in Cajon. Another similarity with the book with the wider America is that since some no longer depend on their earlier forms of earning a living. The recession in America has seen factories and industries close which mean that people have to relocate to other towns as they look for means of earning a living. The problems encountered by the Bayou people are similar to those encountered by the dominant American culture only that it takes a different form.

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Dislikes about the book

Some descriptions on how the muskrats are skinned are unnecessary and too graphic. Such as how mercilessly the animals are killed.this creates a feeling of disgust rather than an appreciation for the Cajun culture. The book concentrates too much on the killing and skinning of muskrats. The language spoken by Acacians has been criticized because it is not understood by other French speakers. This means that the world is not a global village and a community cannot live in isolation we are interdependent. So how can a language that is spoken by very few benefit them?

The author has not brought out clearly the complaints about the Bayou people regarding the inevitable changes that surround them. While it is good to celebrate your culture one cannot burry their heads in the sand to surrounding changes. For instance the people need to find new ways of earning living.With powerful oil interests once mining of oil continues the animals that they depend on will die. They also need to acquire work skills that will enable them earn a living because global warming is causing a rise in water levels. The environment problems are causing changes in culture in the whole world.


The story of the people of Bayou is a story of need of appreciation for each others culture. Though your neighbor may not be a trapper or earning a living like the indigenous people they are different from you. There is a lot of migration in the world, for instance Hispanics have moved into America and have also come with their culture. The changes in the environment that affect the people of Bayou is a universal story it affects Africa and Europe in a similar way.

Works Cited

Hallowell, Christopher. People of the bayou: Cajun life in lost America. Louisiana: Pelican Publishing Company, Inc., 2003. Print.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, January 13). People of the Bayou Cajun Life in Lost America.

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"People of the Bayou Cajun Life in Lost America." StudyCorgi, 13 Jan. 2022,

1. StudyCorgi. "People of the Bayou Cajun Life in Lost America." January 13, 2022.


StudyCorgi. "People of the Bayou Cajun Life in Lost America." January 13, 2022.


StudyCorgi. 2022. "People of the Bayou Cajun Life in Lost America." January 13, 2022.


StudyCorgi. (2022) 'People of the Bayou Cajun Life in Lost America'. 13 January.

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