The Best (and Worst) Things About Living in Louisiana
Louisiana is a unique, weird place unlike anywhere else on the planet, and we wouldn't have it any other way. Sure, we might not be perfect, but there's enough to love about the Bayou State that we don't let the bad parts bring us down.
With that in mind, here are five of the best (and worst) things about living in Louisiana.
BEST - THE FOOD
Hands down, the best thing about Louisiana is our food. No other state in the nation can touch it, even though they try. Bless their hearts.
Grow up eating our food down here, and you'll probably end up thinking other people in other places know how to cook. Spoiler alert: they don't.
From gumbo and boudin, to crawfish and jambalaya, we know how to make things taste better than anywhere else in the world. Even simple things like hamburgers are more delicious here, because we're not afraid of inviting a little flavor to the party.
The only downside to our food is how it spoils us from eating in any other state. Don't believe us? Try ordering gumbo in New York.
JUST TRY IT.
WORST - TAXES, FEES, REGULATIONS, LICENSES, ETC...
If there's one thing that's literally the worst in Louisiana, it's how much red tape is involved with trying to do anything. It's so bad, we even passed something called the red tape reduction act that was supposed to reduce red tape in our schools, but that ended up creating so much new red tape that it hasn't resulted in a single, solitary waiver request from a local school district.
We also have the worst sales tax structure in the entire country, with several parishes having the highest local sales taxes in America. And that's not even going into all the licensing and regulations we're pounded over the head with every day.
Take the "Cajun Navy", for example. When flooding was wiping out homes and threatening lives, the local community came together, got out their boats, and went about the business of saving lives. And what did they get for their trouble? Bet you'll never guess!
If you said more red tape, more fees, and increased regulation, congratulations! You understand Louisiana.
BEST - THE PEOPLE
The people in Louisiana are unique and weird and wonderful. Southern hospitality is in full force in the Bayou State, and we're pretty accepting of most any type of person. Sure, we have our problems just like anywhere else - but we're working on them.
For the most part, people are outgoing and welcoming here, and most of us try not to judge. If you have a freak flag, you're a lot more free to let it fly in Louisiana than you are in other states. Just check out your average Mardi Gras parade if you don't believe us.
We might move a little slower, but that's just because there's not much to be in a hurry about down here. It's usually too hot, for starters, but mostly it's down to just taking our time and not rushing things. If you want fast food, we've got that - but if you want a good meal, grab a seat and get comfortable.
You're gonna be here awhile.
WORST - THE PEOPLE WHEN THEY'RE DRIVING
As great as the people here are, they turn into absolute maniacs when they get behind the wheel. We tend not to yield to oncoming traffic, never use our turn signals, and completely ignore the speed limit.
It takes a special sort of courage to drive on Louisiana's roads - and not just because you're just about as likely to fall into an enormous pothole as your are to get wet when it rains. You have to be brave because it's prison rules out there, people.
Want to use your turn signal to indicate you need to merge into the other lane? That's a hostile act signaling your intent to invade another driver's sacred space, so get ready for a fight.
Don't want a speeding ticket? That's nice. How do you feel about a giant murder truck tailgating you for the next thirty miles?
BEST - THE CLIMATE
Winter never gets too cold here, so it's pretty much summer all year long, with the exception of a couple of weeks of fall and spring thrown in here and there. If you're someone who doesn't like the cold, you'll find plenty to love in Louisiana.
Sure, it rains a lot, but the humidity it generates is probably good for the pores or something. Our climate is one of the reasons we're a Sportsman's Paradise, because there's never really a time that you can't do things outdoors here.
Whether it's fishing out on the lake, or hunting, backpacking, hiking or biking, we have a little something for everyone to do in the great outdoors, with nearly every day of the year open to do it.
So get out there and have some fun!
WORST - ALSO THE CLIMATE
If you're not a fun-in-the-sun type of person, get used to cowering inside your home with the curtains drawn and the AC cranked up to Arctic Tundra 365 days a year. It's almost always hot, even when winter comes along and waves as it passes us by on its way to other places that have things like actual seasons.
How crazy were the people who initially settled this area, back before they invented air conditioning? It had to require a certain, special kind of madness to willingly move to a swamp in the Deep South with no means of even temporary escape from the homicidal rage of an uncaring sun.
Which kind of explains our culture, when you stop to think about it.
We're all mad here.
BEST - MARDI GRAS (AND EVERY OTHER FESTIVAL)
Although we're best known for Mardi Gras, we'll take any excuse to throw a party or have a festival. Mardi Gras itself would be enough of a celebration to last any other state the entire year, but it's just another entry in a long line of things we get up to celebrating here in Louisiana.
Feel like celebrating all that is good and right about sausage? No problem! Check out the Andouille Festival in La Place. Are observing the sacred flavors of the strawberry more your speed? Great! The Ponchatoula Strawberry Fest will hook you up.
There's something going on almost every night of every day of the year somewhere in the state, and whatever it is, you can bet it's probably close to wherever you are.
Because you're never very far from a good time in Louisiana.
WORST - THE LEGAL SYSTEM
Just make sure not to party too hard at one of those festivals, because chances are you'll end up in court about that thing you did when you thought no one was watching.
It's no secret that Louisiana is the prison capital of the world, but what a lot of people don't realize is that we kind of stack the deck when it comes to convicting people. We're the only state in the country that allows non-unanimous jury verdicts in non-capital, hard labor felony cases, requiring only 10 out of 12 jurors to agree.
That makes it easier to get convictions, which makes it easier to keep our for-profit prisons filled and generating a whole lot of money for a small group of very powerful people who have a vested interesting in locking your partying self up in a cell and throwing away the key.
Of course, the easiest way of not going to prison is to just not break the law in the first place, but trying to understand what some of our crazy laws are all about means that the easiest way isn't always so easy.
BEST - THE COMMUNITY
Whenever something goes wrong in Louisiana, you can bet the first people on the scene will be neighbors and strangers. We look out for each other here, whether we're friends or family, or have no idea who each other are.
Mister Rogers once said that, whenever he would see scary things on the news as a kid, his mom would tell him, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping."
That's never been more true than here in Louisiana, where folks go out of their way to help each other in good times and bad. Whether it's local charitable organizations lending aid to those in need year-round, or a grassroots effort like the "Cajun Navy" coming to the rescue of so many people in dire situations, we don't believe in waiting around for the official response.
WORST - THE GOVERNMENT
If there's one thing everyone living in Louisiana can agree on, it's that our government is a confusing, bizarre creation that belongs in some kind of dystopian sci-fi novel more than it has any place in the real world. And yet, it exists. Somehow.
Just trying to find out where the buck stops on any particular issue is an education is misdirection. There are usually several agencies that all have some level of jurisdiction over whatever it is you're wondering about, and each and every one of them will blame the other guy when asked why they aren't doing anything to, say, improve road drainage so it stops flooding every time a mosquito sweats.
Some people get elected, others get appointed, and then there are, like, 37 different committees and planning commissions for every single issue that all claim varying levels of responsibility and authority, even though nobody's really quite sure where any of them came from.
It's confusing because it's designed to be that way. After all, how do you fight City Hall when it's diversified into half a dozen different agencies spread across the city, the parish, and the state, who don't talk to each other and exist only to keep you guessing?
It's like going to war with a hydra. Sure, maybe you can cut off one of its heads, but three more will just grow back in its place. Two of them might be elected officials, but you can bet that one will be some mysterious guy in a suit nobody ever elected who somehow has more power than everyone else combined. And he won't return your calls.
The only thing our government ever seems to accomplish on a regular basis is raising taxes, increasing fees, adding regulations, and slapping more and more layers of red tape onto any and every issue, to the point where we might as well just start forwarding our paychecks directly to the Powers That Be.
And yet, they're always too broke to fix anything.
Funny how that works.
There you have it! Five of the best (and worst) things about living in Louisiana. Do you disagree with anything on our list, or think we missed something? Let us know!