My two oldest children are struggling to figure out what they want to be when they grow up. I recognize that is normal, but I personally never had that issue. When I was in the 9th grade, I knew I wanted to go to pharmacy school (and I did, for a while). I also knew the only place I wanted to live was OUT of Louisiana. And I did that, too, for a while. I came back not because I needed to come home, but because there was a really good job available. And now that I’m back, maybe I’ll stay this time.
I’m trying hard to change my attitude about living in the South, and Louisiana in particular. I do love the people, the culture, the food of South Louisiana. But after living in Colorado, I now know how much I H-A-T-E the weather. (Yes, hate is such a strong word; I don’t know a stronger word, or I’d use it.) To be clear, I don’t mind when it’s 100 degrees with high humidity in August. That’s normal and expected. What I abhor is 80 degree weather in January and February. The absolute best thing in Colorado, besides the view, was four distinct seasons, on schedule. Here, in Louisiana, we have “hot” and “real hot.”
So for Christmas my youngest child gave me a cute little book titled “Why I Still Live in Louisiana: 101 Dang Good Reasons.” I found about a dozen good reasons that apply to me, and have been considering a few others of my own.
- This is “home” for my girls – they are making friends, building lives, and learning to love jambalaya (they even make fun of people who don’t know what it is).
- The people here are fantastic (maybe that’s true everywhere you live; my best friend is a guy I met in Colorado, and lives in another state now; leaving Magnolia was the first time I felt like I was leaving home).
and from the book:
- Coffee with chicory (and real beignets).
- The humidity eliminates the need for skin moisturizer.
- No need to leave home for a taste of French culture (this is from the book; if you’ve been to France, you know this place is quite different from France – but still the culture here is unique).
- The Green Wave (it’s in the book, even though the cover of the book is purple and gold).
- Every day is a good day for a parade (and at parades in Louisiana, you get “prizes” just for watching).
- If you don’t like our accent, hang around a while – you’ll sound just like us.
- We know the secret of a life: a good roux (one of my favorite cookbook titles really captures the importance of this: “Who’s your Mama, Are you Catholic, and Can You Make a Roux?”).
- We’ve proven that politicians are irrelevant.
- Around here, “cher” means dear, not “Farewell Tour.” (great billboard, which I had to explain to my kids – “Got milk, sha?”).
- Creole Cooking – widely imitated, never matched.
- Andouille sausage (along with boudin, cracklins, and hogs head cheese)
So, I suppose unless and until the boss says “we have a new assignment for you” (in which case going to Timbuktu sounds better than being unemployed), I’ll hang around this time and quit fussing about the weather and focus on all the great reasons to be from Louisiana (even if most of the things I’ve listed are southern things, and I’m a Yankee from Shreveport.)