Twenty-four years old, clean shaven, and wrapped in muscle from work on Louisiana's offshore oil rigs, Landry is about as Cajun as they come. He's a descendant of Catholics expelled from Acadia, a French colony centered in Nova Scotia, by the British starting in 1755. Thousands of these Acadians made their way to New Orleans, where Spanish officials outfitted them with grain and salt pork, hammers and axes, muskets and lead shot. They were then turned out into their new home: the Atchafalaya Basin, a 1.4 -million-acre mosaic of bayous, backwater lakes, swamp forests, and river and marshes that sprawls just west of the Mississippi River, between present-day Lafayette and Baton Rouge and down to the Gulf. Over the next 350 years, the Cajuns made a home from the basin's woods and waters, fishing, hunting, trapping, logging, gigging--whatever they had to do to make a living out of a part of America most Americans hardly know exists.