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Things You May Not Know about Louisiana: More to Louisiana than just Bourbon Street, "Bayou Folk", and funny accents...

Updated on January 5, 2014
Bridge in Lacassine, Louisiana
Bridge in Lacassine, Louisiana | Source

"Busted flat in Baton Rouge waitin' for a train..." Janis Joplin


I won't fill you in on more facts about Louisiana that you probably already know, such as, "The state capital is Baton Rouge" or "The state bird is the brown pelican"...You did already know that right?

It is of course fine if you didn't as many of us find it hard to list all 50 state capitals and other such info.

What I can tell you is that Louisiana is more than just Mardi Gras, bead throwing, or shirt lifting females on Bourbon. Of course there are many tourist who flock to New Orleans every year to see just those things. Maybe branching out a bit and seeing other parts of Louisiana wouldn't be a bad idea as well. You may end up finding out what a diverse and amazing place it is. But what are some things you may not know?

1. Louisiana is often called "The boot". Why? Well because it is shaped like a boot. Simple enough. As obvious as it seems to some of you, many people actually do not know this.

2. Almost every celebration calls for a crawfish boil! Why not? If you have never been to a Louisiana family and friends crawfish boil. You should make this top priority. We cover picnic tables (or any table you can find) with newspapers or plastic bags and pour out fresh hot crawfish, potatoes, corn, onions, mushrooms and sometimes even sausage onto the table and dig in. There is always tons of people, plenty of laughs and hopefully plenty to drink.

Note: If crawfish are not in season then a BBQ will be just as good.

Even this little turtle is excited about crawfish season.

A small turtle sunbathing on a crawfish trap.
A small turtle sunbathing on a crawfish trap. | Source

3. Even if you are not from Louisiana you will still be treated as family. Louisianians are known for their welcoming and friendly personalities. As with any place you visit, not all people are in a good mood all the time of course, but you can trust that you will find more friendly than not when visiting.

4. Not all people from Louisiana live along the bayou or talk with such heavy accents that you can't understand them. Actually most of the bayou areas of Louisiana are uninhabitable and although there are some that live deep in the woods or near the bayou, not every family owns a pirogue (a small boat used in shallow marshes and water). Although I must add that most families I know do own a boat for joy riding on the rivers, fishing, and other family fun on the water.

As far as the accent of Louisianians, it varies from region to region. There are areas that the "Cajun Drawl" seems to thicken. Usually this happens the further South towards the tip of Louisiana. (It also thickens when a Cajun is drinking) :)

An alligator swimming through a canal in southwest Louisiana.
An alligator swimming through a canal in southwest Louisiana. | Source

5. When words end with -eaux The "eaux" at the end of words are pronounced as "oh".

Examples;

Breaux - Bro

Arceneaux - Arson-Oh

Geaux - Go

Monceaux - Maw-So

Thibodeaux - Tib-uh-doe

and so on...


6. If Mardi Gras isn't your thing there is always a festival to go to...

When I was growing up, and to many people still today, stressing over what you will wear to the upcoming festival has always been a big deal. Everyone knows that EVERYONE you know will be there so it's usually an ordeal. Most festivals have live bands, local foods, parades, games and even rides. We are always happy to celebrate all the fantastic things of Louisiana. Music, food, culture and even animals, we celebrate them all!

Frog Festival, Duck Festival, Crawfish Festival, Jazz and Heritage Festival, Catfish Festival, Jambalaya Festival, Festival International de Louisiane, International Rice Festival, Christmas Festival of Lights, and so many more! You will always find something you love that is celebrated here.

Crowley, Louisiana Rice Festival, October 2013
Crowley, Louisiana Rice Festival, October 2013 | Source

7. Hurricanes, tornadoes, and flooding...

Everyone has heard of the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in the New Orleans area of Louisiana, but that was only one of many to effect the state.

The reality of natural disasters in Louisiana are demolished homes, down power lines, flooding, no electricity, no water, food storing, humid conditions, wind damage, and so much more that people who are not in the area don't see. It's something that Louisianians have grown accustomed to and know that when hit by disasters our friends and neighbors will be there to help us through anything. I always see people coming together and making the best of any situation when times get hard.

Evacuating before a hurricane isn't always feasible due to gas prices and other travel costs for a family. Sometimes it's about huddling the family together in the safest location furthest from the Gulf. To be honest some of the biggest family gatherings happen preparing for the oncoming storm and afterwards.

Flooding in January 2012. Estherwood, Louisiana
Flooding in January 2012. Estherwood, Louisiana | Source

8. Don't mess with my "family"...

Like most families, here in Louisiana we are very protective of ours. But here, people we consider to be family may not even be blood related. Our closest friends are usually called our cousins even though in fact they are not. Our neighbors are our family as well. And you would be wise not to mess with any of them. You mess with one Cajun and next thing you know, the whole town has their back.

9. Cajun Food vs Creole Food?

What's the difference? Well Creole food is typically made with a tomato sauce base as Cajun food is not. Usually most Cajun dishes are made with roux in them. You can make anything a meal just my adding roux and seasoning to the water. Even Creole roux and Cajun roux are different. Creole Roux is made with butter and flour, while Cajun roux is made with oil and flour...it makes a difference. ;)

10. What's cookin', "sha"?

The word "sha" is used often in any Cajun's vocabulary.

What exactly does it mean? Basically it is derived from the French word "Cher" which means; Dear, or loved one. It is used as a term of endearment.

When I am asked what it means I usually explain it as meaning "precious" or "cute". When you see a puppy or newborn baby you may say. "Awe sha!" Or when greeting someone you may ask, "How have you been, sha?"

Wrap it up...

The fact is that sometimes Louisiana gets a bad wrap from the rest of the country. But the truth is we are fun, caring and loving people with strong roots and even stronger bonds. We have rich heritage and even richer food. No one is perfect, and us Louisianians will never claim to be. But we are happy here at home and always welcome visitors to learn more about us.

Source
Two doves waiting on a train. In Midland, Louisiana.
Two doves waiting on a train. In Midland, Louisiana. | Source

Louisiana "The Boot"

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A curious rabbit posing for the camera at the Lacassine Wildlife Refuge.
A curious rabbit posing for the camera at the Lacassine Wildlife Refuge. | Source

Other Interesting Louisiana Facts

  • Louisiana is the only state that follows Napoleonic Code in the legal system.
  • The state capital building in Baton Rouge is the tallest state capital building in the US.
  • Between April 17,1862 and May 18, 1864 20 major Civil War battles and engagements were fought on Louisiana soil.
  • Saint Joseph's Cemetery, the only known United States cemetery facing north-south is in Rayne.
  • In Louisiana, biting someone with your natural teeth is considered a simple assault, but biting someone with your false teeth is considered an aggravated assault.
Information in this section found on www.50states.com

Louisiana...home to more talent than just Britney Spears.

Celebrity
Profession
Date of Birth
City of Orgin
Ellen Degeneres
Comedian/Actress
January 26, 1958
Metairie, Louisiana
Ian Somerhalder
Actor
December 8, 1978
Covington, Louisiana
Tyler Perry
Actor/Director/Producer
September 14, 1969
New Orleans, Louisiana
Reese Witherspoon
Actress
March 22, 1976
New Orleans, Louisiana
Jared Leto
Actor/Musician
December 26, 1971
Bossier City, Louisiana
Sean Patrick Flanery
Actor
October 11, 1965
Lake Charles, Louisiana
Lil' Wayne
Rapper
September 27, 1982
New Orleans, Louisiana
Tim McGraw
Singer/Songwriter
May 1, 1967
Start, Louisiana
Hunter Hayes
Musician
September 9, 1991
Breaux Bridge, Louisiana
Shane West
Actor/Musician
June 10, 1978
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Sammy Kershaw
Country Music Artist
February 24, 1958
Kaplan, Louisiana
Louis Armstrong
Jazz Musician
August 4, 1901
New Orleans, Louisiana
Google seach was used to find out specific birth dates and locations for each individual. www.google.com, Further data was collected from www.wikipedia.com

© 2013 Cynthia Wirtz

There is so much more that can be said about Louisiana. If there is something you would like to add feel free to leave a comment. Thanks for reading, sha!

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      Shirley Butler 7 months ago

      Live in La. And love. It. I have lived in other states. But always come back to Sweet Louisiana this is a great state.Proud to say I am from Louisiana. I will like And Die here.

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      marvin m 10 months ago

      love cajun music & thefolks.

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      Beth Kibodeaux 2 years ago

      thank you for your wonderful tour of Louisiana. I'm from Vermont and have fallen in love with this marvelous state. I've also fallen love with one of Louisiana's native Cajuns and have up and married him. now we are moving to Louisiana, and I'm so excited, that I read everything I can about Louisiana. I've found your site as awesome for a beginners guide. once again my sincere thanks.

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      Jenny 3 years ago

      Harry Connick Jr is from New Orleans

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      Barry Burton Jr 3 years ago

      I spent some about 5 days in LaFeyette while waiting on some equipment to be fixed to be hauled back up north. Made some great friends at the Acme Truck Lines terminal there. The one guy befriended me and took me home with him and out to eat in a few different places. We hung out and worked on our trucks and ANY of the 6 guys I made friends with seemed like they would give me the shirt off their backs even though we had only known each other a few days. SUPER nice people and GREAT FOOD!!! I will be back someday...that's a promise. (I'm a trucker from Pittsburgh, Pa.)

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      Author

      Cynthia Wirtz 3 years ago from Estherwood, Louisiana

      Diane Farley Cook- I realized I left out corn so sorry! That is a very important part as well thank you for adding that. Thank you for the info about Tim McGraw . I did make the chart myself and tried to make sure it was done as accurate as possible and Delhi, Louisiana came up as his birth place. Thank you so much for the clarification. :)

    • CynfulGoddess profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Wirtz 3 years ago from Estherwood, Louisiana

      The reason I chose to do the more Southern area of Louisiana is because we are the most "picked on" area. You are very right about North Louisiana. I have driven through some very beautiful cities and I should have mentioned more of that area. Maybe I will do a bit of traveling that way and do a second piece ;)

    • CynfulGoddess profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Wirtz 3 years ago from Estherwood, Louisiana

      Thank you so much brownella :) Hopefully you do get to travel here one day and I hope you enjoy yourself.

    • brownella profile image

      brownella 3 years ago from New England

      Great hub, I love how passionate us American's get about our home states (I'm a Vermonter and we have strong views on "flat-lander's"). I've never been to Louisiana but as I am a bit of a foodie traveler it is pretty high on my USA to see list, hopefully I'll get invited to a crawfish boil when I go. Thanks for sharing :)

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      DM from Shreveport 3 years ago

      You left out North Louisiana! We love crawfish as much as anyone south of Alexandria! And so many beautiful places to visit, also. No accents but plenty of hospitality and festivals.

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      Diane Farley Cook 3 years ago

      I can't believe you left corn on the cob out of the crawfish boil, sha!!

      Also, on the chart above listing Louisiana celebs, Tim McGraw may have been born in the hospital in Delhi, but he is not from Delhi. He is from Start and was raised there, not here in Delhi. Just sayin' ... I don't think you came up with the chart, did you?

      Cheers!