One Year Transplant: The Pros and Cons of Louisiana

I have officially been in Louisiana for one year. And this blog is one year old now. Huzzah!
Alex told me that I can’t judge a new place until I’ve lived there one year. Well, it’s been one year.

The Pros

The People
The people in Louisiana are actually not overly friendly. However, I’m very obviously a yankee. The reason I have this in the pros is because whenever I go to Arkansas, we meet really nice people. I don’t think I’ve ever paid for coffee in a gas station in Arkansas because they see my Alaska license plates and they talk to be about how awesome the military is. Overall though, I’ve met some really nice people in Louisiana and they’re very good about trying to keep in contact. Unfortunately, I’m such a homebody that I never see any of these people.

The Food
The food in Louisiana is awesome. From Jambalaya to Cajun seasoning, I have to say that the food here is just all around good. The veggies are just so fresh and flavorful, the food in restaurants, even chain restaurants, are just so much better than the chains that are up north. Olive Garden in Louisiana is actually good. I have no idea why.

Gas Prices
Gas at Sam’s club by my house is $3.04. That’s way cheaper than I’ve paid since before I moved away from Minnesota.

Sin Tax
I don’t smoke, but my friend who does told me that $3.50 a pack is dirt cheap. And when I visited Minnesota recently, I realized that alcohol is dirt cheap here too. A bottle of whiskey here is ten bucks, in Minnesota the same bottle of whiskey was $19. Also, junk food is really cheap. A bag of chips is $2. Minnesota it’s closer to $8. The lack of sin tax is nice.

Surprisingly, it helps me deal with the bible belt

Surprisingly, it helps me deal with the bible belt

The Cons

The People
Yes, the people make and break this place. It’s one thing to have friendly people, but it’s another to have people who are incredibly racist. I will be totally and completely honest: I don’t understand racism. Who cares if you’re white or black? Gay or straight? I honestly, truly don’t care about what you look like, I just care about the sweat on your brow and how kind you are to others. I’m coming to hate people who are upper class. They say that the lower class is lazy, but after working a crappy low paying job, I can say that I’ve never worked so hard for so little. It’s ridiculous.

The Weather
On Christmas day last year, it hit 80 degrees. That was the first time that I was able to wear flip flops on Christmas. Additionally, it is impossible for me to get into the Christmas or any holiday spirit here. I think this is because I’m used to a very temperate zone. Thanksgiving and Christmas, and also Easter, always had snow. Well, Easter usually had a blizzard or the lilacs were just starting to bloom. The fact that winter didn’t start until January and it was spring by February freaks me out and I hate it.

Cockroaches
I’ve mentioned my love for cockroaches several times. And I can tell you that I’m a much better housekeeper now than I ever was. However, I’m a better housekeeper because we have those wonderful cockroaches mooching on everything. The fact that I clean my kitchen and a three inch long cockroach hisses at me and crawls behind the stove went from being terrifying to just irritating. I’m getting tempted to burn my house down.

Not that big here, but if they were, I would never leave the north pole

Not that big here, but if they were, I would never leave the north pole

The Critters
This is to address the opossums in my garbage, the 30+ pound swamp rats that hang out in my yard, the armadillos littering the road dead, the raccoons that chase kids down the street, the scorpions that are in my yard, and the snakes that appear in my yard if I don’t mow it regularly.
I moved to Alaska to get away from snakes. There are no snakes in Alaska. There were only garter snakes in Minnesota. We have snakes that can kill you here. Not cool, Louisiana.

DAMN SWAMP RATS!  THEY'RE NOT EVEN CUTE!

DAMN SWAMP RATS! THEY’RE NOT EVEN CUTE!

Sales Tax
Until I was living in Alaska, I had no idea that food and clothing was taxed in other states. Minnesota is a wonderful place where food, excluding junk food, and clothing is tax free. The rest of the tax in the state is 6%. In Louisiana, everything is 9% sales tax. Including groceries. Which is ridiculous.

Overall: I would sacrifice a baby goat to the corn gods of Iowa to take me from this place. Alas, the military says I have to stay. So I’m going to continually try to find the good in this place, be it eating tons of delicious food, or going to the Louisiana Boardwalk in Bossier to check out the outlet stores.

What are some of the pros and cons of where you live? Would you want to live somewhere else? Tell me in the comments!

The Corn Gods Must Be Crazy

Alex and I decided to be really stupid and drive to Minnesota last month.  It’s a two day drive, and I always forget that time seems to stop in Iowa, because it feels like an eternity to get through Iowa.

Since I am from Minnesota, and every Minnesotan can agree with me on this, I believe that Iowa is not a real place and that it needs to fall into a hole in the earth.  Of course, I’m exaggerating, but seriously, Iowa is not a real place

Not real by association

Not real by association

Since Alex has lived in a total of eight different states, he has no love or affiliation with any place.  Since he spent a lot of time on the east coast, I consider him an east coaster, but I was born and raised in the same area of Minneapolis and lived there for 18 years.  My mom still lives in the house that she bought when I was four, and I still talk to a couple of my high school teachers.

I’m very, very overly proud of my home state and home town.  Something that baffles my in laws, but I think it just adds to my quirkiness.

Anyway, I’m getting off topic.  As soon as we get to Iowa, I scrunch my nose and complain that Iowa is basically hell and not a real place.  Alex starts to get agitated with me.

Alex: Why are you so against Iowa?  What did Iowa ever do to you?

Me: It exists.  Isn’t that enough?

Alex: NO!  THAT IS NOT A REASON TO HATE SOMETHING!  THAT’S WHAT HITLER THOUGHT ABOUT THE JEWS!  THAT IS NOT A VALID REASON TO HATE A PLACE OR SET OF PEOPLE!

But by the end of the day, Alex would be agreeing with me.

Not a real place

Not a real place

There’s this chain of fast food restaurants in the Midwest called Culver’s.  They fry their burgers in butter, they serve beer battered cheese curds from Wisconsin, and their ice cream is actually frozen custard and they make it fresh in every store.  You can get a heart attack just looking at their delicious food, and it’s a treat for Alex and I to visit every time we’re home.  I looked on the Culver’s website and find that there’s a Culver’s in Des Moines.  I figure that this was the time for Iowa to redeem itself.  They also had a Caribou Coffee, which is my favorite chain of coffee stores, and I will go into my love for Caribou in a later post.

Alex and I were starving.  The biscuit and gravy breakfast from the Super 8 Motel was not sticking with us.  Alex and I are both hangry (so hungry that you’re angry).  I get the directions on my phone to get to the closest culver’s restaurant, and as we’re getting closer, we realize that we’re in a residential area.  When the maps says we’re there, we’re in front of a condemned house.

Strike one, Iowa.

Alex says screw it and we’ll find something once we get to Minnesota, which at this point is only two hours away.  I pull out some veggies from our cooler of goodies, but carrots are just not a good substitute.

As we’re back on the highway, I see a sign stating that Culver’s is the next exit.  I get excited and then I mistake the next exit for the exit following.

So we missed culvers.  Again.  Alex was furious.

I can’t blame him.

Then I see a sign for caribou.  Alex tells me that if he can’t get cheese curds, I can’t get a turtle mocha.

So we’re both in the car, in silence, the dogs are sedated in the back, and we’re both staring ahead.  I decide to change things up a bit.

Me: How about we play I Spy?

Alex: Sure.

Me: I spy something yellow.

Alex: is it corn?

Me: Good!  Now I spy something green.

Alex: Is it corn?

Me: Ugh… Fine, I spy something husky.

Alex: Wait, wait… let me guess… It’s corn!

Me: I SPY A MUSICAL BAND KNOWN FOR ROCK AND ROLL!

Alex: IS IT KORN WITH A “K”?

Me: I SPY SOMETHING THAT IS DYING!

Alex: LEAH! THE ANSWER IS ALWAYS CORN!*

CORN EVERYWHERE

CORN EVERYWHERE

Me: THIS IS WHY IOWA ISN’T A REAL PLACE!

When we finally got into Minnesota, after getting lost in Des Moines, driving through hundreds of acres of corn, Alex and I came to an agreement.

The corn gods must be crazy.

 

Have you ever been to a place where you were just so frustrated by how little there was?  Have you ever gotten lost in a strange town because apple maps were designed by assholes?  Let me know in the comments!

*Our I Spy game lasted close to an hour.  Only two other times were the answers not corn: When I spied something spinny, which was a wind turbine, and I spied something beany, which were the soybeans.