• Bookpage

    Rambunctious and poignant, Blaine Lourd’s moseying coming-of-age memoir, Born on the Bayou, takes readers to the swampy, misty marshes of his youth in New Iberia, Louisiana. While Lourd regales us with tales of his two brothers, his sister and mother, it’s his father who stands tall at the center of the story. Harvey “Puffer” Lourd Jr. is a salesman and a gambler, a lovable and cantankerous man living by the code of the bayou and the South, who tells his son he’s never had a bad day in his life. The younger Lourd emerges into manhood by hunting and fishing with his father, pulling the feathers off of still warm ducks just shot or cleaning a whitetail deer. “[T]his was the way of the South of my youth, boys walking in the footsteps of men who themselves did not know the way,” he writes. Lourd does know that, like his father, he’s a Coonass, a badge he wears proudly: “A Coonass can be wealthy or poor, wise or foolish. At heart, he’s generally unpretentious and comfortable with himself, listens to his gut, has horse sense, and tends to be indulgent.” A dazzling storyteller, Lourd so skillfully describes the hazards of growing up in the bayou with a larger-than-life fater that we can’t help but read with wonder that he survived his upbringing and lived to tell these tales. – Henry L. Carrigan Jr.
  • Publisher’s Weekly

    First-time author Lourd, a Beverly Hills businessman, declares that his early life in New Iberia in the lowest part of Louisiana—“the heart of Cajun country”—is never far from his mind in this sensitive and funny memoir. Lourd’s story is dominated by the imposing figure of his father, Harvey “Puffer” Lourd, a truck driver who rode the oil boom of the 1970s in the South and made his family part of what Lourd calls “the idle middle-class-elite”—yearly new cars and country club memberships—until the oil price collapse of 1981 “devastated the South.” During his heyday, Puffer introduced his son to the deep roots of Cajun country life, which Lourd captures in detail: duck hunting, beer drinking, girl chasing, and a bittersweet adventure to Mexico. Though his father becomes a sad figure after the oil bust, Lourd effectively recalls the halcyon days of a man who proudly defined himself as a “coonass”—here used as an endearing term for a certain type of Cajun. Rich or poor, white-collar or blue-collar, “he’s generally unpretentious and comfortable with himself, listens to his gut, has horse sense, and, yes, tends to be indulgent.” Agent: Richard Morris, Janklow & Nesbit. (Aug.)

    A memoir of life in the “lowest part of Louisiana…arguably the wettest, wildest, and freest part of the country.”
    Lourd, now an investment banker in Los Angeles, grew up in a place so remote that even his Cajun neighbors called it “the country,” a bit of raised land in the middle of the world’s largest freshwater swamp, pieces of which had been sold over the years to pay off gambling debts. The author’s father, muscle car at the ready and beer can in hand, had a few such debts himself. “Dad was a betting man, like his father before him,” Lourd writes, and a born salesman who understood that the key to being successful is to roll with the punches when rejection arrives, as it always does. The author writes with affection and sympathy for his father, his mother, and the ways of the South, from pulling on a cold beer with professional wrestling blaring in the background to tearing down a dirt road in a “1972 purple-and-black Dodge Super Bee Charger.” Yet, if all men seek to understand their fathers, all boys have to break away from them at some point or another. Lourd’s break had the usual fraught qualities, with a few twists of fate along with a few bittersweet words of wisdom along the way. The author, suffice it to say, survived his sentimental education, and some of his notes are solid. He writes affectingly of boys looking for guidance to men who were lost, weren’t sure of the way, or “instinctively held to the truth that trudging through the fertile, teeming marsh of life was path enough.” However, some of the book seems like a cross between Dr. Phil and The Dukes of Hazzard as filtered through a country song (“Dad was drunk and I watched him sway”). There’s not a lot of art here, but there’s plenty of heart and intelligence.

    AVAILABLE AUGUST 18TH 2015! Look out for updates.