Louisiana Story

Louisiana Story

Louisiana Story is a 1948 American black-and-white drama film directed by Robert J. Flaherty. Although it has historically been represented as a documentary film, the events and characters depicted are fictional and the film was commissioned by the Standard Oil Company to promote its drilling ventures in the Louisiana bayous. There is not enough factual or educational material in the film to even warrant classifying it as docufiction. Its script was written by Frances H. Flaherty and Robert J. Flaherty.


The film deals with the adventures of a young Cajun boy and his pet raccoon, who live a somewhat idyllic existence playing in the bayous of Louisiana. A sub-plot involves his elderly father allowing an oil company to drill for oil in the inlet that runs behind their house. An inland barge is towed into the inlet from interconnecting waterways. Most if not all of South Louisiana swamps and inland waters without land access were and are explored using dredged channels and barge rigs. The film presents the rig crew tripping pipe (an oilfield operations term), changing a bit, and closing valves on the blow out preventers. The rig crew are not actors, they are actual roughnecks. Even though there is a moment of probable manufactured crisis when the rig drills into a trouble zone, the crew's actions are not choreographed per se. The time frame is pre-OSHA, however there are serious doubts that drillers at that time allowed unshoed kids to hang out on the rig floor - ever. As the story progresses the rig completes its operation and friendly drillers depart, leaving behind a phenomenally clean environment and a wealthy Cajun family.