cloth, 226 pp., $19.95
As a youngster, I spent some of my summers in Plaquemines Parish south and east of New Orleans and in Washington Parish near Bogalusa. I was overwhelmed by the exotic fauna and flora of Louisiana, and dreamed about a book like this work. I read Harnett Kane’s Bayous of Louisiana (New York: Morrow, 1943) literally until it disintegrated, but Kane’s was more historical and less zoological and botanical than Bayou-Diversity.
Ouchley pulls together all sorts of facts about the natural world in southern Louisiana in this fantastic book. Every page had a new surprise for me. My only fishing success as a youth yielded an alligator gar and a snapping turtle as my rewards. Little did I know that the gar has become less common in Louisiana’s bayous. I never knew that gar eggs are effective as rat poison! (p. 103)
Ouchley provides a magical window into Louisiana’s wild animals and plants. Highly recommended for libraries of all kinds and those readers interested in diverse, well-written stories about the natural history of one of most unique areas in the country.
— Edward J. Valauskas, curator of Rare Books, Lenhardt Library, Chicago Botanic Garden