Today, as I’m guessing you know, is Mardi Gras (also, International Women’s Day, which is like Mother’s Day but doesn’t leave out those of us who don’t reproduce). Mardi Gras in much of the US is the day in which other people try to live the life of Louisiana residents. Now I have to be honest, I’m no more a Louisiana resident than any of the rest of these wannabes. But I do have a lot of family in the great state of Louisiana and spent a lot of summers there. This means that I don’t really understand what it is to be a Louisianan, but I do have my own distinct understanding of the state and what it means. Here’s the bits of Louisiana I have absorbed into my identity:
The only sort of rice you should ever use is Uncle Ben’s. No I don’t care that the store brand is cheaper. This is one time when generic is not okay (unless you’re making basmati or jasmine rice. I might even concede brown rice).
Contrary to popular belief, there is absolutely no reason why gumbo must contain shrimp.
A casino is a perfectly acceptable place for a post-funeral dinner.
No other coffee in the world can ever be as good as Community Coffee (even if I’m not allowed to buy it since it’s not fair trade certified). Community Coffee should be at all state welcome centers as a way of saying, “Welcome to Louisiana. We’re nice and like good coffee!”
There is nothing wrong with putting a Wal-Mart in a bear crossing zone. Or an alligator crossing zone.
The most important requirement for a priest/minister is that he give a short enough sermon you can beat the Baptists to all the good restraints (this one is fairly common throughout the south).
If a Catholic priest is conservative and young he’s also probably good looking and the old ladies in the church not-so-secretly call him, “Father What-a-Waste.”
A good family name will get you just about anything you could want.
Alligators are f’ing scary.
Honestly, we could kind of sum it all up to that last one.