I moved to Lake Charles, LA from Beaumont, TX not too long ago, and was surprised by how different everything is on the other side of the Sabine River. Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana might be close together on the map, but they couldn't be farther apart on just about everything else. (Read more about that here and here.)

Of course, in some ways, we're basically the same. People in both states love their freedom, and we pride ourselves on being independent. Our politicians argue for things like states' rights, and most of us have a healthy distrust of the federal government. But are we really as free as we like to think we are?

Nope. Not so much.

For example, Texas prides itself on its own freedom to an almost obnoxious degree. People decorate their homes and lawns with the Lone Star like people over here go crazy with fleur-de-lis everything, and there's almost always someone talking about secession. Turns out, though, that Texas isn't even in the Top 10 freest states, according to the Cato Institute's freedominthe50states.org. The Lone Star State ranks in the bottom 25 of the 50 states, coming in at #28.

Does Louisiana fare any better? Surely, with our independent spirit and laissez les bons temps rouler attitude, we're at least in the top 25, right? Right?


Louisiana has even less freedom than Texas. coming in at #34. That means there are 33 states with more freedom than us, and just 16 with less. New Hampshire enjoys the most freedom of any state, while New York has the least. Nebraska is right in the middle at #25, which I guess makes sense, since it's also smack in the middle of the country.

So just what makes Louisiana not so free? Well, things like crazy taxes, little occupational freedom, limited personal freedom, and a harsh legal system with stiff penalties for non-violent drug offenses, along with our state being the prison capital of the world probably don't help.

Don't feel too bad, though. Mississippi did even worse than us (#36), and at least we still have Mardi Gras.

So there's that.