In the words of William Faulkner: ‘The past is never dead. It’s not even past.’ Nowhere is that as true in the US as it is in Louisiana. Nostalgia for times long gone and recognition of hardships endured are nursed and celebrated at every turn. This leads to a dynamic sense of place – natives know they are rooted here, and embrace what makes them unique. This is a state where African American cowboys strap washboards to their chests and strum the distinctive clicking sound of zydeco, where gators lurk in swamps and are hunted by French-speaking Cajuns, and where a lone sax player can redefine a day. Singular cultures coexist, knowing to leave well enough alone – after all, don’t we all just want to eat well and dance till we can’t remember?
In the rolling hills and pine forests of northern Louisiana, the mostly Protestant population shares similar traits with other Southern states. But the world becomes a different place amid the swamps of southern Louisiana and the debauched streets of New Orleans – where jazz and Afro-Caribbean sounds color the thick sultry air with so much history and invincibility, you just can’t resist the beautiful urge to let loose.
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A heady confluence of the haughty European and the boisterous third-world, New Orleans is often referred to as the northernmost Caribbean city. Precious architecture stands alongside careening overloaded junk trucks, sumptuous delicacies tickle palates while offal in the streets offends the eyes.