Louisiana Master Naturalist Association announces Caroline Dormon award winner


The Louisiana Master Naturalist Association recently selected Mr. A. James “Jim” Delahoussaye as the recipient of the 2022 Caroline Dormon Award. He will be formally presented with his award at a special plenary dinner in The Pineville Conference Center, April 2nd, where he will be keynote speaker. He was nominated for the award by Clifford J LeGrange and C. Ray Brassieur of Acadiana. The award is named after noted Louisiana naturalist Dr. Caroline Dormon and recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the understanding of Louisiana’s natural history over a lifetime of work. Previous winners include Dr. Charles Allen, Vernon Brou, Jr., Kelby Ouchley, and Bill Fontenot.

This article published in the March 31, 2022, print edition

Jim Delahoussaye has worked as an environmental scientist, teacher, folklorist, and commercial fisherman in the Atchafalaya Basin. He has also worked as distinguished zooarchaeologist, an adjunct researcher in the department of Sociology/Anthropology at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where he analyzes animal bones from prehistoric Native American middens.
In addition to his scientific publications, avid bird watching, presentations to the public, and participation in videos documenting life on the Atchafalaya, Jim has chronicled the unique relationship between the people and the Atchafalaya River. He has collected life stories from descendants of houseboat families who lived in the Atchafalaya Basin, preserving a unique culture for posterity. His large collection of recordings and related materials from this project was recently gifted to the Library of Congress, where it is housed in the American Folklife Center.
Jim’s knowledge and expertise covers all aspects of the natural history of the Atchafalaya Basin, and the people who depend on it. He not only has the formal education and background, but he also has the lived experience of working and earning a living in the Basin. His familiarity with this vast swampland enabled him to assess the height of the tallest Bald Cypress tree in the Atchafalaya by eye within a margin of accuracy of just over 2 feet!
The committee that selected Delahoussaye from a shortlist of six powerful contenders agreed that he met and exceeded all the criteria for the award. See LMNA Blog on Jim Delahoussaye