Despite my best efforts at tagging things of interest, by the far the greatest outside draw to this blog is the phrase ‘louisiana sucks.’ For all the faults listed in that prior post, I still hold to its suckage. But there’s the coin’s other side, too — that Louisiana knows nothing more intrinsically than how to love. Football, guns, food, music, booze, the Lord. Whatever or whomever, we love boundlessly, fiercely, unforgivingly.
There’s a sign at the Louisiana Welcome Center on the Interstate 10 border to Texas. Louisiana: Pick your passion. Go ahead and sell the state at its surface value, but you’re wrong. The kind of Louisiana love I speak of isn’t passion, hobby, pastime nor general interest. It’s devotion that none of us choose.
To the outside world, it’s unfathomable insanity. Ax-wielding hurricane survivors being airlifted from their roofs because they refused to leave their only home? Love. Elected politicians who vote to allow Creationism in the classroom and the 19-year-old activist who fights it with the help of Nobel laureates? Love. Delicious, marvelous drive-thru frozen daiquiri shops mixed with lenient drunk driving laws? Love. 260 murders in Baton Rouge and New Orleans in 2012? Love. I swear somehow it all comes down to love.
But the insane don’t self-actualize until they see their own madness reflected in other crazies right, Foucault? That’s where today’s ‘reality’ TV climate comes in, I guess, not to mention all the fictionalized tales. Cajunsploitation: entertainment laced with voodoo, rednecks, alligators and untreated personality disorders. Duck Dynasty, Cajun Pawn Stars, Swamp People, Bayou Billionaires, Sons of Guns. Put some mystical Spanish moss or hot sauce on it and sell it as coonass, Louisiana true. Those people are crazy.
Yes, we’re fools, made so out of love. Born and raised in our confederacy of dunces, our crazy love takes us to our above-ground graves, foolish or otherwise. Louisiana fails at a lot, save love. We love so hard because we don’t know any other way. Maybe it comes from our history, that gumbo pot of encroached upon Native Americans, colonizing French, exiled Acadians, briefly-ruling Spaniards, Haitian refugees and of course imported-against-their-will Africans. Imagine what love meant throughout time to those ethnicity-mixing Louisianans: family, sacrifice, survival.
Whether you’re born into a loving family or not, spend long enough in Louisiana and you learn what it is to love. It’s the families you have and the ones you make, knowing what you cannot live without and always, always, always finding a way. Every time I go home, I’m reminded of how fortunate I am to be and to have this burning, beautiful, bewitching Louisiana love.
- Yes, it’s crazy but I love this shit.
(Next time, more of a holiday wrap-up – with photos! – and less highfalutin hoopla. Jag lovar.)