Our people and state were exposed to public opinion by people all over the world like never before after Hurricane Katrina opened our doors to universal inspection.
Good and bad, people everywhere know what we are made of and how we compare with others. And, to say the least, we are different.
After the emergencies had lessened, the people here started making fun of our dilemmas. We characatured blue rooftops as jazz line umbrellas and tied up refrigerators with funny messages written on them. Itís just like us south Louisianians to ridicule ourselves in front of others. We enjoy joking about the problems of Boudreaux and Thibodaux more than others who arenít acquainted with our culture. If someone in Denmark drew a cartoon making fun of cajuns, we wouldnít mind at all. In fact weíd want a copy so we could stick it on our wall.
Weíre different because we like to take time off to have fun, like we just did for Mardi Gras. Never you mind that many in south Louisiana didnít have full houses to live in. The most important thing was that we were still alive and with a sense of humor.
Many of us like to sit on a stoop in front of the house and swap news and views with neighbors, something not usually done in other parts of the country. We also like our jazz and cajun music, something we were born with and was born here.
Our food is certainly different. Spicy and flavorful is how most people describe it. And we like to cook, too. When we have a feast, itís not in a banquet hall. Itís more likely in somebodyís back yard where a tub of crabs just boiled away over a butane fire. And when we do go to restaurants for dinner, itís likely to be one that cooks like we do, carefully prepared to satisfy the palate like no other dishes in the world.
When it comes to sports, we certainly support our teams. But we also can be critical in comic fashion during hard times by wearing paper bags over our heads to hide the fact that we are loyal fans.
Some people think we are uneducated because we donít speak good English. But everybody down the bayous understands each other and that is all that counts. We like to stay at home where everyone understands us, anyhow.
So take it or leave it. South Louisianians are different. And we hope it stays that way.