Cajun history preservationist Jim LaBove steps back into the salt marshes of Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana within the pages of Splendor in the Salt Grass, the third and final chapter in his Salt Marsh Trilogy of books about bayou Cajun culture. This time, Jim sets aside the Cajun recipes that have framed his previous books to focus on detailed, intensely personal accounts of the people, traditions, and circumstances that shaped his youth and which defined a little-understood time and place in American history. Within the pages of Splendor in the Salt Grass, you’ll learn about the hunting and fishing habits of the ancestors of the Acadian diaspora who settled along the Gulf, along with stories of specific people in Jim’s life who exemplify the Cajun people’s challenging but fulfilling lives.
Jim’s stories about nature, humanity, and persistence in the face of harship echo from the past and predict the current troubles of our present. As always, Jim’s stories are complemented by his gorgeous field sketches of the animals, tools, and objects of everyday mid-20th-century Cajun life, taking you out of the pages of his book and deep into his remarkable past. You may even find some revelations about the origins of some of your favorite Cajun food within its chapters. In the salt marsh, things aren’t always what they seem.
Splendor in the Salt Grass completes the Salt Marsh Trilogy of books Jim has written to celebrate untold stories in Cajun culture. The first book in the series (Cotton’s Seafood) was released in 2016. It focused on Jim’s recollections of his parents’ lives, work, and recipes, and took its name from his father Cotton’s seafood business. In 2017, this was followed by Sketches of My Cajun life, an art book and supplemental entry in the series featuring a new collection of Jim’s grouped field sketches, grouped by subjects relevant to Cajun interests. Along with a second art book, 2018 saw the release of his second trilogy entry: Sunrise Over Keith Lake, a meditation on the lives of his aunt, uncle, and cousins framed by the fate of the “Sabine Light” lighthouse, a once-important resource for marine commerce that is at a risk of being lost to the past.