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A Perfect Introduction

Chris Rose of the Times Picayune has a wonderful column today. Perhaps if you are not from New Orleans, it will mean nothing... but for those of you who know the area, this says it all... And I took the unusual step of posting the whole thing.

Dear America,

I suppose we should introduce ourselves: We're South Louisiana.

We have arrived on your doorstep on short notice and we apologize for that, but we never were much for waiting around for invitations. We're not much on formalities like that.

And we might be staying around your town for a while, enrolling in your schools and looking for jobs, so we wanted to tell you a few things about us. We know you didn't ask for this and neither did we, so we're just going to have to make the best of it.

First of all, we thank you. For your money, your water, your food, your prayers, your boats and buses and the men and women of your National Guards, fire departments, hospitals and everyone else who has come to our rescue.

We're a fiercely proud and independent people, and we don't cotton much to outside interference, but we're not ashamed to accept help when we need it. And right now, we need it.

Just don't get carried away. For instance, once we get around to fishing again, don't try to tell us what kind of lures work best in your waters.

We're not going to listen. We're stubborn that way.

You probably already know that we talk funny and listen to strange music and eat things you'd probably hire an exterminator to get out of your yard.

We dance even if there's no radio. We drink at funerals. We talk too much and laugh too loud and live too large and, frankly, we're suspicious of others who don't.

But we'll try not to judge you while we're in your town.

Everybody loves their home, we know that. But we love South Louisiana with a ferocity that borders on the pathological. Sometimes we bury our dead in LSU sweatshirts.

Often we don't make sense. You may wonder why, for instance - if we could only carry one small bag of belongings with us on our journey to your state - why in God's name did we bring a pair of shrimp boots?

We can't really explain that. It is what it is.

You've probably heard that many of us stayed behind. As bad as it is, many of us cannot fathom a life outside of our border, out in that place we call Elsewhere.

The only way you could understand that is if you have been there, and so many of you have. So you realize that when you strip away all the craziness and bars and parades and music and architecture and all that hooey, really, the best thing about where we come from is us.

We are what made this place a national treasure. We're good people. And don't be afraid to ask us how to pronounce our names. It happens all the time.

When you meet us now and you look into our eyes, you will see the saddest story ever told. Our hearts are broken into a thousand pieces.

But don't pity us. We're gonna make it. We're resilient. After all, we've been rooting for the Saints for 35 years. That's got to count for something.

OK, maybe something else you should know is that we make jokes at inappropriate times.

But what the hell.

And one more thing: In our part of the country, we're used to having visitors. It's our way of life.

So when all this is over and we move back home, we will repay to you the hospitality and generosity of spirit you offer to us in this season of our despair.

That is our promise. That is our faith.

Amen.


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Comments (16)

Yep... there's a lotta Fren... (Below threshold)
Jerry:

Yep... there's a lotta French down there in Louisiana... lol

Beautiful, and yur welcome.... (Below threshold)

Beautiful, and yur welcome. As we have demonstrated so thoroughly in the past, the Union will never give up on the South.

That brings almost as big a... (Below threshold)

That brings almost as big a lump to my throat as hearing the 2nd Line on O.Z. in Exile for the first time since the storm.

Arrg. Sleep deprivation & H... (Below threshold)

Arrg. Sleep deprivation & HTML don't mix...

O.Z. in Exile

Bugger all! Frikkin' <a hre... (Below threshold)

Bugger all! Frikkin' http://www.wwoz.org

Maybe I am an asshole, but ... (Below threshold)
NtvAmrcn:

Maybe I am an asshole, but if you come into my neighborhood and rely on our generosity, I don't care for you to impose your ideals on me or our neighborhood. It is upon you to integrate with us, not us to integrate with you.

"Maybe I am an asshole,..."... (Below threshold)
Faith+1:

"Maybe I am an asshole,..."

No maybe about it. Take the chip off your shoulder and lower your nose enough to actually read what the man was saying.

Avoyelles Parish native here and I understand exactly what he is saying.

It's not like they are trying to be an independant nation or anything. He's just saying "Thanks for your help, pardon us while we get our lives back in order. We'll be going home shortly and y'all are welcome to stop by anytime."

If your attitude is any indication of your neighborhood, then don't worry, we won't be staying.

From the Land Of 10,000 Lak... (Below threshold)
Laura:

From the Land Of 10,000 Lakes, you are very welcome, stay as long as you need to. Although I don't know how warm those shrimp boots will be come winter. It does get a mite cold up here. You know we have "The Icebox Of The Nation" up here, right?

Thanks for posting that let... (Below threshold)

Thanks for posting that letter. And everyone just ignore the asshole.

Don't believe I would go ba... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Don't believe I would go back until you get rid of "Baldy" and "crybaby".

Nice to meet you, a-a. Not.... (Below threshold)
pj the rgeat:

Nice to meet you, a-a. Not. I'm evacuated up here to TN. I'm not receiving your welfare, your shelter, your anything. I'm spending all of my savings on food, lodging, and whatnot in your state, paying taxes into your welfare system. You won't see me, or a very great many Louisianians like me, on your news or your doorstep. We're asking for nothing but to go home as soon as we can. For everything we have been offered (offered, mind you, not asked for) through the generosity of others in your state, we are grateful. We would hope to treat them the same if they ever need us.

Did pushups to that tired L... (Below threshold)
natty dark:

Did pushups to that tired Lee Greenwood song in boot camp, made me hate it. But reading an entry like this makes me want to go ahead and do one more pushup for the good ole US of A. We are all freaks in some way shape or form - whether we 'pahk ah cah in the bahn' or if 'we fixin ta tearitup' or 'hang ten, dude!' When the puppy stuff hits the fan blades, we are all on the same team. Wish I was closer to the crisis - I know that sounds rude, but it is times like these in which the true nature of a person comes out, and it is nice to know who you can rely on and who is as fake as a three dollar bill. You can eat my bugs any day.

For everything we have b... (Below threshold)
rayabacus:

For everything we have been offered (offered, mind you, not asked for) through the generosity of others in your state, we are grateful. We would hope to treat them the same if they ever need us.

We're all glad to lend a hand. That's what neighbors are for. I appreciate the fact that you, and many many others, show gratitude for the help and hospitality offerred. That makes one want to continue to offer our assistance.

Mi casa, su casa.

My bad pj. Shouldnt have ... (Below threshold)
a-a:

My bad pj. Shouldnt have lumped everyone coming to TN together, but damn have you seen the people doing some of the interviews on tv and radio? Most seem ok, but damn there seem to be a lot of bitchy ingrates heading our way.

have you seen the peopl... (Below threshold)

have you seen the people doing some of the interviews on tv and radio? Most seem ok, but damn there seem to be a lot of bitchy ingrates heading our way.

I've heard rumblings from some folks in Baton Rouge and other parts of Louisiana that there are folks even that close who weren't too thrilled to have New Orleans move into town for an extended stay.

me, I hope many of these folks, especially the more impoverished ones, find someplace to stay and maybe make a new life of it if they can. Why end up back in a bowl of poverty?

I think that the images of ... (Below threshold)
a-a:

I think that the images of looting freaked a lot of people out. When you see a story on the news about people in New Orleans looting and setting fire to their own home town, during a crisis when they should all be pulling together, and the next story is about leaving N.O. and moving into your home town, well, you cant help but be a little less hospitable.

"I hope many of these folks, especially the more impoverished ones, find someplace to stay and maybe make a new life of it if they can. Why end up back in a bowl of poverty?"

Exactly. If my local government was helping people find jobs that would be one thing, but they aint. Theyre just putting them in the welfare line.




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