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Title Page || 1: Introduction

I began this project with the naive belief that I would craft this study in general solitude. In fact many colleagues and friends in varying ways toiled along with me during the process. I first wish to acknowledge Professors Ora-Westley Cady and Matthew Schott whose critiques of the manuscript illuminated my shortcomings as a writer of history without removing my dignity; the map collections resulted from the generous work of Will Himel, of the Coastal Management Division of the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources; Ben Stelly served me in an invaluable role by setting up needed interviews. My highest scholarly debt is owed to my chairman at the University of Louisiana—LaFayette, Professor Tom Schoonover, whose patience and wisdom during the sometimes painstaking drudgery of this project elevated my expectations and demands that I placed upon myself.

I began a journey into history because I find the pursuit of meaning and discovery freeing as much as others cling to banal assumptions and beliefs for security. I enjoy the experience of being disabused.

David Williams