Perique: Photographs by Charles Martin

Perique, prized by connoisseurs as the strongest and most flavorful of tobacco varietals, is cultivated in only one place on earth: a 30-square-mile tract of land in St. James Parish, Louisiana. Harvested, bunched, and stemmed by hand, the tobacco is pressure-cured for a year in whiskey barrels. The labor-intensive cultivation process dates to the early 19th century; its rituals have descended as occupational folklore through a small group of St. James Parish families.

Photographer Charles Martin has spent eight years documenting the tradition of his forebears. Vulnerability lends urgency to the study: only a handful of working farms remain dedicated to perique cultivation, and fewer and fewer young people embrace the agricultural lifestyle of their parents and grandparents. Martin's photographs epitomize local history in their painstaking documentation of a place-specific process. Yet in their framing, and in their ability to capture the dignity of human labor, they assume universal, iconic status.

This book depicting one of the last few tobacco traditions in this country will make a perfect gift for the fine tobacco enthusiast.

Purchase your copy of Perique: Photographs by Charles Martin from! Price: $25

  • Item #: 859
  • Manufacturer: New Orleans Historic Collection

Perique: Photographs by Charles Martin

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