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Blogging the Southern Experience

Blogging the Southern Experience

I live in the South.

That doesn’t make me a redneck, a hick or a hillbilly. I am an American. I live in a (grantedly small) city of approximately 60,000. I attend theatre and symphonies and the ballet. I also know how to eat a steak, barbeque ribs, field dress a deer and run a bushhog. I don’t wear “shit kickers” or any other types of derrogatorially named footwear. I have a pair of Tony Lama boots, a pair of Chucks, a pair of Ferragamo. What’s your point?

I live in Louisiana.

That does not make me a coon ass, a Cajun or a Creole. My last name is French. I am not French. I am Scots-English…almost completely. I am not in any way French, Indian, Canadian, or Spanish. I haven’t a drop of French blood in either direction, going back more than 5 generations. I know how to eat crawfish, cook a mean jambalaya (and it’s pronounced JUM-buh-LIE-uh, not JAM-Ball-Aye-Ah), and can darken a rue — dry or wet, take your pick. But that’s not the limit of my culinary abilities. I can roast a quail, boil a chicken, slow-cook a pot roast — New England or Midwestern — and I can smoke a ham.

I say all of this to clear up a few misconceptions about the South and the southern way of life, because several times in the past few weeks (including one infuriating moment earlier today when a customer service representative placed me on hold, missed the button, and referred to me as a “dumbass red neck — I did Shakespeare for Christ’s sake!) I’ve come face to face with the ignorance of Southern culture. I mean by that the ignorance of those outside of the South of what goes on in the South.

So over the next few weeks, I’ll blog about Southern life. Who better to elucidate some of the finer points of Southern living than a novelist, an observer of the South, right?

So I invite you to relax, pull up a porch swing, sip on some iced tea and take a minute to learn about the South. I promise you, it’ll be interesting.