Observations Specific to Louisiana:
1. Louisiana convenience stores sell LOTS of booze. My first experience was at a convenience store located in Bogalusa, Louisiana, a 13,000 person town located on the Louisiana-Mississippi border. This particular convenience store literally maintained an inventory of more booze beverages than non-booze beverages, stacking some liquor boxes as close to a foot from the ceiling. The place looked more like a Sam’s Club liquor store than a gas station. I was later told that a few of the adjacent Mississippi counties are dry counties. Makes sense.
2. The Koch brothers, International Paper, and Georgia-Pacific seemingly employ 50% of Louisiana. Timber tracks and logging trucks are everywhere. I’d be just fine if I didn’t see another logging truck in my life.
3. Watch out for fire ants!
4. Ever watch Duck Dynasty and see people wearing camouflage as casual attire? Yeah? Well, this wardrobe selection is not exclusively reserved for Louisiana reality TV—people all over Louisiana regularly wear camouflage as part of their daily outfit. If you’re a stylish lady, good chance you’re rocking some pink cammo.
5. Leashing a dog or fencing a dog inside a yard is by far the exception rather than the rule. How are more dogs in Louisiana not killed by motorists?
6. The pecan industry is everywhere. Passed dozens of signs seeking field-hands as pecan pickers. Also, you can purchase shelled pecans at convenience stores but doing so requires taking the pecans out of 50 pound sacks and weighing them yourself on an old-school, mechanical-style scale.
7. Forget the hustle and bustle of city life. People are much more laid back here. No matter how much of a hurry you’re in, you better make room for some small talk. It’s considered rude not to.
8. Crickets are sold in convenience stores, primarily as fish bait. Reach into the 100 gallon aquarium to grab all you want.
9. Fried crawfish pies are amazing.
10. I occasionally hear folks in central PA and Northern Virginia complain that land developers are snatching up all of the rural land in their communities. The fear is that these developers will overdevelop America. However, judging from all the miles I’ve ridden through in Louisiana, there’s still plenty of countryside to go around. Farms were inescapable and farmland was unending.
11. Pickup trucks are to Louisiana what foreign cars are to Northern Virginia.
12. 80% of automobiles driven were pickup trucks. 90% of automobiles driven were pickup trucks plus 10+ year old sedans.
13. If you don’t like fried food, your dining options are candy bars and going hungry.
14. I’m not sure what the correlation is between roadway quality and state affluence, but if these variables are highly correlated, Louisiana has got to be one of the poorest states in the country. Expect tight to non-existent shoulders, numerous potholes, and course aggregate. Basically, the perfect storm of eating up cyclists’ tires.
15. The racial tension is palpable in Louisiana. Not that I was alive, but the racial dynamic seemed akin to the Civil Rights era.
1. It’s frequently difficult in the North to understand how Big Tobacco makes so much money. I know of only a small handful of folks who regularly smoke and that number is even smaller amongst my generation, suggesting a waning future for tobacco companies. But just come down South and you’ll see why Big Tobacco is cashing fat checks. Everyone smokes, both young and old.
2. Like peanuts? How about boiled peanuts? Get them in either original or cajun flavoring.