|Every time that I am stressed out, I miss New Orleans and want to go home. Is that bad?|
|Happy New Year! Eat your corned beef, peas, and cabbage.|
|Ok, I am weird. Or I am easily amused. Or I am fascinated by community television. Or I can't turn off the tv. So I am surfing on through the channels, and just past the Dog Whisperer I hear an odd theme song and see even worse video footage. The lyrics of the song do not rhyme well, but it's hard to go past. I have never seen this before. What is it? What could it be? Maybe I will learn something new and interesting. Turns out there is a group of people (10, 12, 15 maybe?) who go all over America and look for gold!! Wahoo! Gold! And there are some manufacturers who think they can create machines to make prospecting more efficient and profitable. So each week (and I have now seen this show twice) they interview the inventors of the brand newest prospecting machine that will help you find the most gold (and the water supply can recirculate! Wow!) Anyway, I find this interesting. This is clearly not a show for the novice prospector. You have to be a pro. How many people does this show appeal to? Who actually prospects enough to buy one of these machines? How much do you need to make from prospecting to make this a worthwhile investment? Can it ever be? And then, of course, there are the commercials. All the commercials appeal to the prospector as well. I thought they pretty much died out in '49. 1849, that is. See if you can find it on your local station. TiVo it. It's awesome. Or not. |
|I read a lot of blogs about New Orleans. I do. Lots. Sometimes I comment, but usually I just read and lurk and stuff. I also have my own blog about New Orleans that I write on every couple of weeks or so. When something moves me or someone says something stupid to me about my hometown. When you grow up there, you just take a lot of complicated social and cultural issues for granted. You understand them because you live them. There is really no place that I've been that is like that. |
Rules in New Orleans are more like guidelines, And guidelines are more like suggestions, and suggestions are like advice, etc. It's just the way it is. We have these big, huge events like Mardi Gras and people are nice to each other. In other cities, like Philadelphia, they can't seem to pull off Mardi Gras because they don't understand it. It's not just a big party. It is, but it has it's own set of rules that most everyone agrees to - have fun, watch out for each other, and be nice. They aren't hard rules, but some people start partying and can't control themselves. We don't have that problem partly because the rules are not really rules, see? Complicated yet easy to understand.
Then there's the whole Cajun vs. Creole thing. I am Cajun. My dad was born and raised in southwest Louisiana. That's swampland and country. The people who settled South Louisiana (except New Orleans) were of French heritage but they were shipped out of Canada. They are a hearty people who love life. They speak a weird version of French but they sure do know how to have a good time. Friendly, outgoing, fun-loving. But they eat weird stuff because they live in a swamp. Crawfish and alligator are typically Cajun foods. Stuff you can catch out in swamps, as long as it doesn't kill you first. Cajun music is zydeco - accordion, washboard, fiddle. It even has its own kind of dancing. It's like country music but in French and with a little more crowd participation.
Creole is totally different. Creole people generally live in New Orleans. They are people who claim heritage back to the original French settlers of New Orleans or the Caribbean. They tend to have all kinds of ethnic heritage - African, Caribbean, French, Native American, Spanish. The food that they cook tends to have elements of French cooking (and rice!). Most foods that are considered New Orleans foods are actually creole dishes - gumbo, etouffee, jambalaya, red beans and rice, etc. It's flavorful and rich. I don't know if Creole has a music associated with it. I never thought about it. I know that John Boutte is creole and he is an internationally famous Jazz/Gospel type singer. I always think of Creole as being the Jazzy and Funky. I just find it has African beats with a good groove - basically stuff you can shake your butt to or tap your foot without thinking about it. I could be totally wrong on this, though
One of the reasons these two separate cultures get confused is because they are both from Louisiana. The other might be that they both begin with C. Other than that, they aren't even remotely similar. To us, it's like comparing people who live in New York City with the folks who live in the Appalachians. Not really much in common.
But last year, Katrina leveled the Creole stronghold of New Orleans and Rita the Cajun area in southwest Louisiana. The state was and is still devastated on both sides - economically and psychologically. I am sure that both areas will survive as will the cultures that thrive in them. But I worry because there are a lot of people who don't know what Louisiana is about and don't understand why it's important. I don't know if I think that's acceptable. If any state were racked by natural (in SW LA) and manmade (in NOLA) disasters in the same year, I don't know if I would say "Why should we help (state X)?" or (worse) "They shouldn't rebuild there." I think I would just say, "There are people who are suffering and need help. What can I do to help you?" I wonder why I feel like people don't feel that way about New Orleans and Louisiana.
What can you do? Have you forgotten already?
|Next Thursday night there will be an Alex's Lemonade Stand Event at Parent Teacher conferences. Um. yeah. That's my whole entry. So there.|