James Richard Catoire, a French-speaking Cajun, was raised in a tenant farmer's shack in Evangeline Parish. He could only attend school half the year as he was needed on the farm to plow (with mules) and pick cotton. He worked in marine construction for fifteen years being flown around the hemisphere to push crews in Latin America and The Caribbean. Then, after studying in Europe, Catoire came home to Louisiana to teach foreign languages for twenty-five more years. He lives in New Orleans with his wife, Tony Fennelly.