Whats it like to grow up in Lousiana? (New Orleans, Shreveport: fit in, apartments)
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Well, for me it was the same as growing up in any other ghetto. Lots of violence, misguided youth, years spent watching my back, etc. It wasn't good. But that is what it was like for me, I'm sure lots of people had it much better than I did. But I am not complaining because I feel it made me a better person in the end.
I actually grew up in Lafayette, but I was born and spent the first few years of life in Baton rouge/Greenwell Springs area. I didnt experience much there except going to my grandparents house in Goodwood, so that was pretty much like any kids first years. Playing in friends sandboxes, going over to their houses in BR or in my neighborhood near the Comite river. When I moved to Lafayette I pretty much did the same thing. I definitely didnt live a rural life, but my parents house is still on the far edge of town in a more rural setting. Overall, living in Louisiana is really not any different from any other state with the exception of being taught French in school and eating some delicious food all your life.
And believe it or not, it is similar in north Louisiana as well. I was taught French in elementary school.
I too was taught french in school.
Whats its like to live in Louisiana? Ill try to make this short as possible and feel free to ask me to emphasize or elaborate.
My early Louisiana consist of considering old brick government project houses comfortable homes. They were nice, nothing like what you would normally called projects and we get complimented on them by outsiders about how or project homes look like nice apartments. It was home, the tall trees with spanish moss(as a child I use to say, "there go the trees with beards")on the way to the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo. Lots of water and rain. We always use to go to Ouachita River & Bayou Desiard. I was always surrounded by music, gospel hymms would just pop up out of anybodys mouth at random in stores, public places, schools, etc.
I realized after I got deep into school, the older folks spoke a little differently than what I learned in school. The mixed cultures of old like African, Indian, and even Creole was the norm in everyday language, especially my aunts who were raised in Opelousas, LA, she spoke french.
The weirdest thing though, whenever I saw a decent home or a person of another race, I'd be amazed and think I was in another world. This isnt home, this isnt what I thought people were like. These people speak properly like what I learned in school. I was wondering where was the culture of my grandparents and aunts and my society? These people dont like singing, dancing, and excitement? They even like to stop us in the car with flashing lights when we would have blacken fish fry night?
I soon found out as I got older that I was isolated from what was known as regular American society. The truth is most of Louisiana is isolated from a regular American society, which is our biggest conflict, doing it like the rest of the nation. Most of us, especially S. Louisiana embrace our uniqueness and cultures that we sometimes have no idea that the rest of the nation does not live like this.
I finally understood this when I got older and traveled. The food was nothing like home, it had no flavor or at least not as exciting as what I can eat in Louisiana. The churches was bland, my churches was so glorified and full of fun praising God, and guess what, we ate good food again after service right outside of the church house!!! The education was the biggest culture shocker. The things I associated with 5th grade level was being learned in 3rd grade out of state. These people went to amusement parks, lived in gated communities and ate out all the time. They always talked about futures and how their kids had bank accounts. Everyone had to be a lawyer or doctor, I'd say Im gonna be an artist and they'll smirk at it. In Louisiana people would say, Im going go work off shore, be a chef, a dancer, a football player, a minister, play trumpet, but all these things in other states would seem stupid to do. They wanted to be engineers, architechs, and pilots, which is nothing wrong it, just seem different from home. Our ideas of success was always related to our customs and culture, anything otherwise we felt we had to leave the state.
One more thing and I'll stop. The most interesting thing was how people blended together no matter what race. It seemed as though if you lived by what is known as being a regular citizen, which means you mastered the majority American culture, you'll fit in no matter what race you were. Anything esle you were discriminated against. Not in Louisiana!!!! Its hard to find areas where all races blend together even if you are similar in lifestyle and culture. Much of Louisiana is still in its old ways of living, and the comparison to other states is horrible when it come to this.
Anyways thats my Louisiana. Ill talk more, but less on replies.
While I was growing up in Louisiana, I never had much appreciation for the unique and (sometimes) positive aspects of the state. Then, as soon as I moved, it's like I've become some sort of Louisiana patriot. I have other friends from childhood that have expressed similar feelings.
During childhood, and up until I left college and moved away from the state, I was as loud a basher of LA as anyone else. The conservatism and the racism bothered me, but the thing that bothered me the most was that most people seem content with things the way they are; no one seemed interested in growing the local economies and such.
That being said, now that I have spent some time away from home I've come to recognize some of the many great things that I had access to as a kid in Louisiana. For starters, I learned to live outside. Until I was 12 or 13, I never even watched a minute of TV. I spent all day that I wasn't in school outside in the woods. Also, I realize now how self-sufficient I am by virtue of being raised in a working-class family in a poorer state: I learned how to make minor repairs to most everything that I own; I work in property management now, and it amazes me how many people make maintenance requests for such small things as a broken toilet latch and such. Then, I also learned not to sweat small stuff like roaches and spiders, because those things are a fairly common occurrence when you grow up in Louisiana.
Being raised in Louisiana contributed a lot to me turning out the way I did, but at the same time I doubt I will ever return or raise my own family there.
I know this is a very general question but I find the state very fascinating and I would like to know from the natives point of view what was it like growing up there.
I am most interested on rural Lousiana just because everything appears so slow,old and unique there. But I would also like to hear about growing up the cities.
Its a very open question just share what ever you want about growing up in Lousiana.
I grew up in rural Union Parish, close to the Farmerville area. I really enjoyed my childhood here. There were horses in the backyard that I became friends with and rode in the woods. My Dad had a garden and I learned how to garden and grow corn, squash, etc. I still do that to this day. We had the basics--cable, a comfortable home but small, and a lot of heart. My school was very small, very personal, and very close. I learned a lot in school.
Around the time I started junior high, my Dad got a better paying job in nearby Monroe. We moved there and I went to private school there. It was completely different from the rural area! Where I came from, no one seemed to know or care about various luxury items the richer kids had. The difference between the River Oaks neighborhood in Monroe and rural Union Parish is night and day. They both had strong positives.
Living in Monroe gave me more cultural opportunities and let me see how the real world works. I saw poverty here for the first time. I graduated school and did what a lot of my wealthier friends did-- go to LSU. My parents struggled to afford my education and my happiness, but we were not poor.
LSU allowed me to see how the rest of Louisiana was like. I learned about kids from New Orleans, Shreveport etc. It was really eye-opening. I enjoyed hearing and learning about how diverse the state was. I joined a fraternity there and eventually went on the get a Masters in Chem. Eng. I also did construction work in the summer and I traveled around the state doing that as well. I worked briefly in the New Orleans and Lafayette areas, while dating my current wife, and then got a job opportunity in Monroe, which I took because it is my hometown.
Growing up in Louisiana's rural areas gave me an appreciation for the outdoors and small-town ideals. Growing up in the city showed me what was out in the real world. Louisiana is an excellent place to raise a family and I think that I'm a better person growing up here and experiencing a true culture than growing up in a meaningless suburb of a larger city.
All and all, my experience with the state has been sound.
For starters, I learned to live outside. Until I was 12 or 13, I never even watched a minute of TV. I spent all day that I wasn't in school outside in the woods. Also, I realize now how self-sufficient I am by virtue of being raised in a working-class family in a poorer state: I learned how to make minor repairs to most everything that I own-- Then, I also learned not to sweat small stuff like roaches and spiders, because those things are a fairly common occurrence when you grow up in Louisiana.
Being raised in Louisiana contributed a lot to me turning out the way I did,
I grew up in northern Iberville Parish. It really was not until I got older that I realized I lived in a place that outsiders considered "different". But from what I can tell it really was not much different than growing up in other southern states. We fished, we went to school, we did chores, we played sports, etc.
I grew up in Mandeville when it was tiny town with one stoplight. There was a TG&Y with an old movie theater next door and across the street was a Delchamps. It was pretty rural (not anymore). We never watched tv and spent alot of time outdoors fishing and building forts. We swam in rivers, creeks and even the lake and made the occasional camping trips. Hot, hot, hot, mosquitoes and lots of other giant bugs. But even after moving around to other places, I like the mystique and romance of Louisiana. It is raw and unpretentious. I don't think it is like the other southern states because of all the cultures that have touched foot there.
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