8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 17 June 1998
When I was a child, a trip to the local library always meant a romp through the "Local Interest" section. I have always been enamored of the area that I grew up in. From hearing the stories of "loup garous" (werewolves) in the swamp to the tales of Jean Lafitte's pirate bands running amok in the swamps from my grandparents and great-grandparents, I came to appreciate the rich and diverse cultural history of the area. Gumbo Ya-Ya was always the book that fascinated me the most. The copy in our local Carnegie library was a first printing, replete with photos and art enough that you could simply look at the pictures and appreciate it (which is actually what I did the first few times). Once I started reading, however, the stories that unfolded before me only made my fascination and appreciation go thru the roof. To be able to walk the streets of New Orleans with my many friends not from the area and enlighten them on the various landmarks and stories is a delight in itself. Although I now reside in Mobile, Al, a trip to the city of my birth always brings a childish gleem to my eye. I love nothing more than to pass on the historical facts and fictions (or are they?) of what I consider to be the most unique city in the US (and I've been to MANY). Even if you've never been to New Orleans, this book makes for entertaining and fascinating reading.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 23 March 1998
Originally published as part of the WPA's Louisiana Writer's Program, this charming book of Louisiana Folk Tales was a favorite book in my home while growing up. (So much so, that as a young adult I searched high and low for a copy to call my own. Imagine my delight to find that Amazon Books carries it!)
While some in this age of "political correctness" might blanch at the phonetic rendering of the words of African-Americans in some of the stories; it should be remembered that this book attempts to replicate the actual speech patterns of the individuals interviewed. These same renderings are not generic and gives one the feel of actually being there, on a sultry Louisiana night, "rocking on the porch, ice-tea and fan in hand", being regaled by the stories of the "old-timers".
In this delightful book you will find everything from "Cajun colloquialisms" to "The Mysterious Axeman's (sic) Jazz".
Or re-visit the songs of the street criers and capture the feel of a long ago "Dixieland funeral".
Explore the legend of Marie Laveau as well as the story of the saintly "Mother Shannon". Looking for ghost tales? or maybe the words to some old-time "Spirituals"? Then search no more! This book lives and breathes and I promise you, you will not forget it!
This review is dedicated to the late Col. Thomas Frith Bienvenu, at who's knee I learned to love the rich tapestry which is Louisiana!