The Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art

Salisbury, MD



Louisiana Lures & Legends

October 1, 1999 - January 30, 2000


On October 1, 1999, two new exhibits opened at the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art as a part of the Chesapeake Wildfowl Expo. In Louisiana Lures & Legends, Brian Cheramie, author of the book Louisiana Lures & Legends, shares his knowledge of the Bayou Marsh Country as guest curator. Traditional hunting decoys and historical artifacts are on display. Chance: the Decoys of Chauncey Wheeler features the work of Alexandria Bay, New York, decoy maker and folk artist Chauncey Wheeler. This exhibit shares some of his finest decoys, folk art flyers, and never seen before treasures. (left: photo of a rig of pintails by Lafrance, Joefrau and Frederick in the stern of a dugout pirogue. These decoys range in size from 14- 19 inches and date from the 1930s to the 1940s. Photo courtesy of "Wildfowl Art," the journal of the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art)

In the Spring/Summer1998 issue of "Wildfowl Art," the journal of the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, Gretchen Toadvine writes about the book Louisiana Lures & Legends, inspiration for the exhibition. Ms. Toadvine writes:

"The essence of Louisiana Lures and Legends, which displays the decoy collection of Brian Cheramie and period photographs of David L. Hall, encompasses this passion for hunting as essential to the heritage and culture of southeastern Louisiana residents.

'In southeast Louisiana where waterfowl hunting is a passion, if not a birthright, the durable wooden decoy was hunted over from early-fall through late-spring: It had to endure the salt and brackish waters of the bays, as well as the up and down movement of the tide...Here the carved bird has always been more than a tool of the hunter, they are heirlooms and pure sporting classics.'

Having lived in Southeast Louisiana, on the banks of the Bayou Lafourche and close to the marsh, all his life, Brian Cheramie gained a love of nature. Hunting with the Houma Indians along the Bayou Blue, he learned respect for history and the past. This book, Louisiana Lures and Legends, is Cheramie's way of collecting the treasures of his homeland within 280 hard-bound pages and demanding respect for Louisiana decoy carvers which they deserve, but have rarely received until now. Through this text, Cheramie also reminds his readers not only of some of the world's finest carvers, but about an endangered culture and art form of days gone by when vast populations of ducks and geese followed natural flight paths into the Bayou State. This is not a quick read- it's a book to digest slowly and carefully so as not to overlook the distinct cultures of each bayou and uniquely talented carver.

Louisiana Lures and Legends chronicles the carving and personal histories of sixty-six spirited decoy-makers.The carvers are divided into seven categories based on the geographic regions of southeast Louisiana in which they lived and carved."

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