To those who have read “Vermilion Parish,” this one will seem familiar: a tightly knit local history book, profusely illustrated with locally obtained photographs, one that makes you want to pick it up and look inside.
The same superb workmanship and deft knitting of picture to text are also present. The size and the number of pages is the same, as is the ratio of text to pictures.
The difference is one of geography. Yet even while this book is of a neighboring parish to Vermilion, it can still be of considerable interest. I know it was for me.
What I wrote a year ago about “Vermilion Parish” is true of this one, a small book alive with interest even for casual browsers. My approach was the same: leafing through the pages, reading some of the entries at random, looking for the flavor, the soul of the book, hoping it would draw me in just as the first one had. And it did.
What drew me in this time was recognizing how difficult collecting and organizing the pictures must have been. Making them tell stories required the skills of both an artist and a wordsmith, a rare combination. Perrin is both, and his co-author as well, in my judgment. Only the geography is different.
It made me think of how much harder compiling such a book would be as years go by. In this respect, Hebert and Perrin’s book stands as a sort of small, silent sentinel, reminding all of us down here that the unique history and culture of this region needs concrete help in its conservation.
The authors and their work perform this duty well. “Iberia Parish” is more than a book. There is life, welcoming the reader to come and get acquainted.
Officially, the book is “Iberia Parish,” co-authored by Nelwyn Hebert and Warren A. Perrin, published by Arcadia Publishing. It is, or soon will be, available at local retailers, online bookstores or through Arcadia Publishing at www.arcadiapublishing.com.