Enduring perceptions: placenaming and the perception of Louisiana’s salt dome islands

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Publication details

Hayward, P 2017, 'Enduring perceptions: placenaming and the perception of Louisiana’s salt dome island', Island Studies Journal, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 417-430.

Article available on Open Access

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Salt domes are geological features that occur when areas of salt deposits are pressured into layers above them, causing dome shaped distortions in horizontal strata. In some instances, the distortions protrude above flat areas of land or else appear underwater as seamounts. In the case of the five Louisiana salt dome hills considered in this article, their distinct elevation above the swampy bayous and flatlands surrounding them has led to their characterisation as islands by indigenous Atakapa-Ishak peoples and by subsequent Francophone and Anglophone settlers. The article considers the ways in which the five salt domes’ islandness has been perceived, enhanced and/or undermined by various local inhabitants and/or the industries that have operated on them. Discussion of these aspects involves consideration of the manner in which the salt dome islands’ islandness is mutable and complex, particularly with regard to human impacts. This mutability is discussed with regard to both individual island placenames and the islands’ overall designations.

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