Dear Louisiana (I’m looking at you, Lafayette.)

Dear Louisiana/Lafayette,

I know I wrote about Seattle and not about you after my visit in the U.S. this past summer, but that doesn’t mean I forgot about you. Not for one minute. In fact, what can I say? I had no idea I would miss you so much. What with your driving culture and air conditioning and bathtub and gorgeous, supportive community and “hey, how y’all doin'”s and did I mention air conditioning? Oh, and the food. When we were together before, I liked the food for the most part, but I do vaguely remember poopooing overheard “best food in the world.” statements. Surely I must have known all along but didn’t want to admit it. I do that sometimes.

You see, I got stuck. In 2013, I felt forced to return to your open arms that hadn’t always been gentle to me, and those roots so resonant and smothering. “Home.” But I learned a lot. I had both good times and bad. I got to spend time with Nana, which was the best part. Made some super-incredible friends who I just love to pieces. Yet I still whined about moving to Paris. All. The. Time. Sickening, really. Yet here I am in France, and dangit if I don’t think about you every single day. What is it they say? You can take the girl out of Louisiana, but you can’t take Louisiana out of the girl. So true. This summer, I even liked speaking in that weird southern/Cajun accent I fall into when I’m with you. What did you put in my martinis?

I swear, I’m flummoxed. How did I miss seeing how beautiful you were? I always knew it, but I guess I chose to ignore it? Sometimes the most beautiful things are the hardest to look at. But you sure got me good this time, you saucy minx you. And my family — even though Mama, Nana, Pawpaw and others who have passed on to other realms are always with me in my heart, no matter where I go — I felt tenfold during my two-week stay. I miss them so much, it hurts. Bad Bad. But being there felt like they were hugging me, all of them, all at once. A great, big, fat bear hug. All while we ate catfish and gumbo and po-boys and everything else we could get our taste buds on, and drove around, and visited friends and loved ones, and belly-laughed and watched Lester Holt. 

On a side note: Hey, NBC, what’s this I hear about you moving Days of Our Lives to Peacock? Who made that decision? Give me their job! I mean, your ratings are really low. So you move this classic soap opera away from the few viewers you do have left to an online network? 

  1. That’s not going to get you better ratings.
  2. That’s not going to bring more viewers to Peacock.

I mean, I can’t even GET Peacock in France! Dreaming about my last visit, one of my favorite memories was lying lazily in a cozy air-conditioned room, stuffing my face with boudin nachos while watching Days of Our Lives. It honestly makes me wonder what the hell I’m doing in France. I mean, croissants, beautiful pastries, the Eiffel Tower, blah blah blah. But DOOL, air conditioning, Coke with actual ice cubes and blessed boudin nachos? Y’all, boudin nachos:

  1. First you get some tortilla chips.
  2. Then you get some boudin.
  3. Then you take it out of the casing ‘cause no one (you) wants to have to chew on’at.
  4. Then you sprinkle the boudin on the chips.
  5. And then (zee pièce de résistance), you smother it in cheesy sauce (from a jar, a can, or diced) and nuke it until it’s good, hot and ooozy. 
  6. You can also add some sliced jalapeños if you like that sorta thing, but the boudin should be spicy enough for most people. Oh, ok, you like the jalapeños. Fine, put ‘em on there then. Damn. God bless your esophagus.
  7. Or, just go get’em at Don’s.

But really, NBC, maybe instead you could just knock off some of the annoying newer characters, nix the recurrent Marlena-is-once-again-possessed bullshit, bring back the real Roman Brady (aka Alex North) and have the current Roman realize all this time he’s had amnesia and is once again Chris Kositchek. But who am I to say? Looks like people liked the cheesy, tacky factor of Beyond Salem. Hopefully I’m wrong, and all your viewers will flock to Peacock. I will not be one of them, however, because, well, I’m in France. Although I do see they’re going international. Hmmm …

But back to Louisiana trippin’. I can’t tell you what a joy that was. Do, do that voodoo that you do so well.

I’m still weirded out though. I don’t get it. Living in Paris has always been my dream. But this time around, you actually made me wonder if I hadn’t gotten it wrong all along. Made me even consider owning a sweet little southern cottage with a front porch and rocking chairs, a cute, practical car and of course blessed blessed air conditioning. And ice cubes. And a bathtub. As long as I could enjoy a little escape every once in a while. It doesn’t even have to be too far. Hell, they have an ice skating rink, macarons, a rotating sushi bar and Chanel a couple of hours away at the Galleria in Houston. That’s far enough, really. Especially since I’m not a big fan of I-10. Crazy bastards. And of course, we’ll always have New Orleans.

And the hurricanes. And the heat? I didn’t even mind that so much. Thankfully I didn’t experience any crazy storms while I was there. I’m really not a fan. They usually wait until the end of August anyway, which we both know oh too well. Blech! But you did give me a little rain, which was simply intoxicating. That earthly scent. Nothing else like it. It too was like a hug from the heavens. Oh how you made me fall in love with you, my beloved, familiar home sweet home Louisiana. All I can say is how blessed I am to have come into this world via your salty earth. “O Ye Jigs & Juleps!” 

But just when I started feeling grounded again and realized what a fool I’d been for having run away from you, you reminded me of those few tiny little things that get under my skin. Dammit if I’d almost forgotten. Your southern crazy. I’m not talking about the sweet, eccentric kind. No, it’s the divisiveness. And the violence and crime and incarcerated and “worst” on too many lists. Your politics have always been a little off the wall — I’m thinking Edwards and both Long’s — but it’s different now. You have got to stop voting against yourself. Honey, you are so damn beautiful. Why are you wrestling to stay on the bottom rung? Is it that you think if you own your bedazzled charm, people might love you too much? Or maybe you think acknowledging your faults means giving in to the enemy? But who’s the enemy? Yourself? Mark 12:31 does NOT say, “Thou shalt hate thy neighbor as thyself.” And last time I checked, the fifth commandment did not say, “Thou shalt kill.” So what’s up? What about the love? And remember how even the poorest of the poor used to wash their houses and clean up their yards? They might not have had much, but they did have pride in themselves and their surroundings. Cleanliness is next to Godliness, remember? And btw, what do you have against women? The environment? Your own children? Pick yourself up and comb that hair, my darlin’, you are magical.

When all is said and done, just know that I really do love you, with all my heart. I worry about you, that’s all. You’re still kinda my favorite, so we’ll see what happens. Maybe we could both work on our own shit while we’re away from each other? 

Meanwhile, you know where to find me. Over hangin’ with our cousins in France. Let me know when you’ve cleaned up your act, and I’ll keep you posted on how it’s goin’ on this side of the bayou. In any case, I miss and love ya, bebe.

Yours faithfully,

Julie xo

Great, now I want boudin nachos. 

11 Replies to “Dear Louisiana (I’m looking at you, Lafayette.)”

  1. “Sometimes the most beautiful things are the hardest to look at.” How true. And also so often we have to leave home in order to truly appreciate it in all its warts and glory. Wishing you a marvelous time in Paris.

    1. Most definitely. They really do have the most beautiful community I’ve ever known. Alas, here I am in Paris. It’s all about the journey, n’est-ce pas? Thank you for your beautiful words and wishes. I hope you’re having a magical one!

  2. “Why are you wrestling to stay on the bottom rung?” 😛 For this reason, Alabama loves Louisiana.

    I was catching up on my bluegrass when “Lafayette” by the Watkins sibs came up.

    And why, dear god, are they moving Days to Peacock??? It’s like they’re actively trying to kill off the show.

    1. Ha, and Mississippi. Le sigh. That’s a lovely song. I miss so much about my home state. It’s crazy; I’ve never felt like this before. At least not so powerfully. Every time I think of something about it, this wave of melancholy comes over me. Although I’m not quite ready to head back juuuuust yet. We shall see. And, dude, seriously. Maybe NBC will come back with a story that Stefano possessed the producers and then bring it back. I never thought I’d miss shit American TV either. What in the world is happening to me? Le sigh, indeedy.

      1. Hahahaha. It’s funny, sometimes I think we become more American when we leave it. Or maybe it just seems that way when we’re surrounded by a different world!

      2. So true. We realize how precious those familiar things are, no matter if we appreciated them or not when we had them. And even though I have whined about being in France my whole life, now that I’m here, I can feel myself rebelling. So. Twisted. What to do? What to do? Ha.

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