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.