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A Legacy Preserved: Contemporary Louisiana Decoy Carvers

There are many reasons why carving has flourished in the Pelican State. And many great carvers.

By: Harvey J. Lewis

Adapted from A Legacy Preserved: Contemporary Lousiana Decoy Carvers by Harvey J. Lewis (University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press, 2016)

Harvey J. Lewis is a retired lawyer and resident of New Orleans. He has been a collector of both antique and contemporary decoys for more than 40 years.

According to the Louisiana Wildfowl Carvers and Collector’s Guild (LWCCG), Louisiana is home to the largest number of Ward World Championship decoy carving champions and master carvers in the country.

The guild, founded in 1975, suggests that the contemporary decoy carving era began about 60 years ago. That coincides with the view of many collectors of old Louisiana hunting decoys. It also coincides with the year that Clovis Vizier’s well-carved mallard pair won second place in the 1951 North American Decoy Makers’ Contest in New York City. Fittingly, in the 1970s and 1980s, Vizier descendants Jimmy Vizier and Andrew “Tan” Brunet from Galliano, Louisiana, each won multiple best in show awards and also regularly won others at the Ward World Championship (the Super Bowl of decoy carving).

This article is from the Winter 2017 issue. For more information on our issues, check out our issues page.

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