Louisiana research trip: the numbers (and the end)

To wrap up my posts about the trip and the research and my book, I thought I’d share some numbers.

My trip lasted 10 days, including 2 days of travel.

In those 10 days, I visited:

  • 8 specific locations connected with events in my novel
  • 2 wildlife refuges, where I walked 3 trails (I walked one trail 3 times)
  • 2 historical re-creation villages totaling 24 historic Acadian houses and buildings
  • 1 excellent display on the aquatic ecology of the Louisiana wetlands
  • 2 public libraries and 1 university library
  • 3 colleagues (2 writers/professors, 1 writer)
  • 4 experts in folklife and/or architecture and 1 wildlife scholar
  • 1 coffeehouse, 1 bar/restaurant, 1 Golden Corral and 1 Waffle House
  • 3 uncles and 2 aunts, 1 great-aunt, 2 cousins, both parents, and the graves of my grandparents and great-grandmother
  • 5 cemeteries
  • 2 battlefields
  • 4 churches
  • the Family Dollar in Cameron 4 times
  • the Cameron Ferry 6 times (that’s 6 times heading west, and 6 times heading back east)
  • 2 beaches (Holly Beach and Cameron’s Jetty Pier Park)

In all, I drove almost 1,150 miles.

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At the libraries, I spent more than 16 hours reading from 19 books, and I wrote almost 4,000 words of notes.

I took more than 1,000 photographs.

I saw more than 30 alligators in 5 different locations, including 1 in the wild while I was all alone.

I also saw 2 marsh rabbits, 3 different kinds of snakes, a flock of coots, countless ducks, gulls, pelicans, and herons, dozens and dozens of turtles, and a nutria (just before it raced into the brush and disappeared).

I saw 2 people ahorseback in the roadside marsh.

I saw 2 airboats out in the bayou.

I had at least 6 moments of euphoric epiphany about my book.

I had comments of support and enthusiasm from countless friends and family, and a couple dozen requests for copies of the book when it gets published.

And I had one hell of a good time.


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