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Cruise of the Pintail

A Journal

Robert L. Winans

Publication Year: 2011

In 1932 a young Fonville Winans (1911–1992) left his home in Fort Worth and set out on the waterways of south Louisiana searching for adventure and fortune. This journal recounts, in his own words, how the now-renowned photographer and his two friends—first mate Bob Owen and second mate Don Horridge—ventured onto untamed Louisiana waters aboard a leaking, rudderless sailboat, the Pintail. Fonville was shooting footage for a movie that he felt certain would make them rich and famous, telling the story of subtropical south Louisiana’s remote coastal landscapes and its curious people. The project was ambitious and risky—just the right combination for three young Texans with hopes of stardom. Developing his photographic skill, Fonville traveled during the summers of 1932 and 1934 to swamps, barrier islands, and reefs, from Grand Isle to New Orleans to the Atchafalaya, making friends and taking pictures. The journal, in effect, layers Fonville’s unique voice over his now-iconic visual record of moving images and stills. Robert L. Winans selected more than one hundred photos to accompany his father’s diary entries, offering a fascinating inner look at Fonville Winans’s world.

Published by: Louisiana State University Press

Series: The Hill Collection: Holdings of the LSU Libraries

Cover, Title Page, Copyright

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pp. ix

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pp. xi-xiii

There are three books so far written and published about Fonville Winans (1911– 1992), the now famous Louisiana photographer: Myron Tassin’s inadequate...

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pp. 1-3

What boy is unmoved in the face of true adventure? As the Great Depression overwhelmed families and its blanket of hopelessness fell over the South, young people sought relief wherever they could. In the 1920s and 1930s there was a feast of new media tantalizing the imagination...

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Summer 1932

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pp. 5-117

The day dawned bright and clear: a good omen for our projected cruise. Bob and I arose early, ate breakfast, packed the “T” model ford, and we’re off at 8:30 o’clock, after bidding farewell to Bob’s folks. Next we stopped at my house and told my folks goodbye, after which we continued...

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pp. 119-123

Fonville, Bob, and Don went and rescued their beloved Pintail, fixed her up, and took her all over creation making movies and taking pictures. Then they returned to edit and realize their profits. This part didn’t work exactly as planned, but the film was a huge hit in schools. The authorities...

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Summer 1934

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pp. 125-187

Things were getting dull around home. I had a job on the Press as photographer, a bit of photo business of my own built up on the side, and occasional dance orchestra work at night. Still things were dull. I kept dreaming about the swamps and marshes, of delightful days spent...

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pp. 189

The Pintail died near Fleming Plantation, where one of Fonville’s unrequited loves was to mourn the loss of this talented, lanky boy from Texas for the rest of her life. Avoca Island absorbed the Pintail’s bones, and Fonville...

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A Note on Voyage of the “Pintail”

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pp. 191-192

In 1995, three years after Fonville Winans’s death, his heirs placed many of his surviving negatives on deposit in the LSU Libraries’ Special Collections, including not only the images reproduced in this book but also images that run the gamut of his work. From high society...

E-ISBN-13: 9780807139837
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807139851

Page Count: 208
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: The Hill Collection: Holdings of the LSU Libraries