Surviving In the Marsh – Book Review

“The Coach”

I have been hunting and fishing southeast Louisiana for a good portion of my 63 years on this earth. A fact of life here is that if you want to hunt and fish, you will be dealing with the marsh and a boat most of the time. Most of southeast Louisiana is at or below sea level.

I have owned several, aluminum, V-bottom and flat bottom boats during my life. As I am sure many of you are aware of, it is not hard to punch a hole in an aluminum boat. If you hit almost anything while underway, you are going to have problems. If you do so, here in southeast Louisiana, some of the marshy areas are so remote that you could spend a couple of days in the marsh before another boat comes along that could assist you.

I have been looking, unsuccessfully, for a long time for written information on surviving in the marshlands of southeast Louisiana, but have been unable to locate very much written material on the subject. There is a little information in the U.S. Air Force Survival Manual. But I am always open to learning as much as I can.

I was speaking to a friend of mine, Mike B., about my quandary. Mike told me about a person that he knew, Mr. Eric M. Lacefield, that had written a book for the Louisiana Department of Wild Life and Fisheries titled “Survival in the Marsh”.

When Mike told me this, I knew that I had to obtain a copy. I went onto the Louisiana Department of Wild Life and Fisheries website, but did not find the book listed.

Several weeks later, Mike gave me a call. Mike advised me that he had seen Mr. Lacefield and secured a copy of Mr. Lacefield’s book for me. I was elated.

The book is only 103 pages long but it is crammed pack with useful information that not only answered all of my questions but also went much further. I read the book, front to back, without stopping and learned things that would have helped me out in many of situations I had gotten into over the years. I also learned things that could help me out if I am ever stranded in the marsh.

The information in this book would be useful not only to southeast Louisiana residents but to anyone that hunts, fishes or travels in marshy areas anywhere in the world or uses a small boat anywhere. He has many original concepts and ideas that are very useful, such as; do you know how to set a straight course in the fog, in a small boat? How to create a survival kit that will float if your boat suddenly sinks?

These are just a few examples of what is in Mr. Lacefield’s book.

The book is titled, “Surviving in the Marsh”, revised 1995, written by Mr. Eric M. Lacefield. It is printed by Baker Pict _ 1 001Printing Co. for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

 I found the book listed in, The Natural History of Louisiana:  A Selected Bibliography, Compiled by Bob Thomas, Loyola University New Orleans, the Louisiana Master Naturalist web site,, scroll down to the “EDIBLE PLANTS & HERBAL MEDICINE” section. The book is listed there if you are interested. There is a lot of other good information listed and available on this web site.

For those of you who cannot find a copy of “Surviving in the Marsh”, I found a copy at main branch of the East Jefferson Parish Library in Louisiana.



Self-reliance is the only road to true freedom,

and being one’s own person is its ultimate reward.

Patricia Sampson


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