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James Lee Burke Foresees Devastation of His Louisiana Wetlands

Listening to James Lee Burke reminisce about Louisiana wetlands before the oil spill is a lush, nearly tactile experience.

"It was like the Garden of Eden back in those marshes years ago," he says of the Atchafalaya Basin, the nation’s largest swamp. "I thought it was the most beautiful place in the United States. At sunrise there would be this stillness, like the first day of Creation, and the sun looked like cotton candy inside the cypress trees."