Just before my plane landed in New Orleans yesterday, a recording came on over the PA system. “You will be provided arrival cards that you must complete before entering the country. ” Hello? Our flight originated in Dallas. Texas. The recording was a mistake but it was a relevant one. Louisiana is not like America, more like its own country.
Unlike anywhere else in the US, Louisiana is historically French and Catholic. It is therefore uniquely Mardi Gras, etoufee, gumbo and creole. No other state has bayous, Cajuns, cypress swamps and voodoo practitioners. If all of that that is not weird enough, the law prohibits you from tying an alligator to a fire hydrant!
Unfortunately, Louisiana is also distinguished as being among the poorest, most polluted and least educated places in the US. Racism is a big problem and it is at times almost freakishly humid and hot, not to mention prone to hurricanes.
I love Louisiana in spite of its issues. It is the birth place of jazz, zydeco and cajun music. The food is world class and it is the only place I have ever been where strangers call me “baby.” It is full of surprises of all kinds!
I am here for 7 weeks. As Rachel Maddow would say, “stay with us!”