Not From Around Here

Make no mistake… there is a huge difference between South Louisiana… and every where else in the world. I know this because I lived there for three long years.

Experiencing the natural beauty of the bayous and wetlands can be the next best thing to standing next to Jesus when he asks for someone to fetch him a red wine latte.

But beneath the worst-service-I’ve-ever-had fast food joints and the Third World roads are some of the most memorable people, many of whom literally would do anything they could to help a neighbor out… and a unique culture than can best be understood by simply just experiencing it. Spend a little quality time down the bayou… and you too may walk away mildly amused with your head cocked curiously to one side mumbling to yourself… “What the heck was that?!”

Some of my first experiences in that place are best expressed this way:

1. Everybody here owns a boat.

2. What’s that smell? And why are those fields on fire?

3. People here have there own language:  “Where he’s goin’?”, “Tell me somethin’ coon-ass… Why you didn’t akss me to come for?”, “Yeah, put sommadat in deyr… it be way mo better dat way!”, “My cousin Claudette… she be pregnant for dat Boudreaux boy… ahhhh-gain”.

4. There are a lot of lesbians here.

5. There are casinos everywhere. (I should explain that a “casino” is a windowless concrete box the size of a four car garage attached to a convenience store… filled with numerous booze-soaked, sad-looking, elderly zombies pulling slot arms in the same stoned robot fashion).

6. There are a lot of Catholics here… which means, for some, Ash Wednesday following, for most, a week of booze induced mistakes – up to and including maxing out the Visa to make sure they have at least $3000 worth of Mardi Gras beads with which to pummel their friends at the parades, (pronounced: PAH-reydz).

7. People like to fish… everywhere… on the side of nearly every road…

8. New Orleans Louis Armstrong airport plays some of the worst music ever known to man… some kind of swamp pop and zydeco… which becomes only barely tolerable as you swig down another offensively bitter Louisiana home brew, known as Abita… for which you paid a modest seven – SEVEN! – bucks.

9. Booze! When the sticky semi-tropical swamp air becomes too much for you city-boy pansies… you can get a banana and mango daiquiri in a cup the size of a 5-gallon paint bucket… [drum roll]… at a drive through window! See, they tape the straw to the top of the cup… and it’s your challenge to stab this flimsy devise through the top of the plastic lid… which is conveniently marked with an X. What an awesome game!

10. When it comes to mayonnaise… People don’t “refrigerate after opening“… and no one dies ??

11. Everyone drinks Community Coffee.

12. Fresh shrimp… is not pink! WHAT! Yeah, it’s gray… and we are talkin’ out of the water… into the boat… into your cooler… into your 30 gallon cook pot with some whole red potatoes, corn, onions, mushrooms, garlic, lemons… and Zatarain’s Shrimp Boil… ohhhhhhhhh mannnn!

13. Egyptian Plague-sized mosquitoes!

14. Nutria. It’s a beaver-rat-like herbivore that lives in the ditches by the side of the road… or anywhere there is water. Uh, Andrew Zimmern visited south Louisiana once… and ate one.

15. And Crawfish boils… are OH SO GOOD!

Published in: on May 15, 2010 at 9:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

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