Deep in the Heart of … Louisiana?

Seven years ago, if you would have asked me what came to mind when I thought of Louisiana I would have said Bourbon Street, New Orleans, jazz, and swamps. What little I knew! I made a friend from Louisiana just before we moved from Texas. When I texted her that we were moving to Lafayette, she responded with “Tres Bien.” I asked, “Three good?” She said “LOL that means very good. Forget Spanish. You better practice your French!” It is funny to look back now at how far we have come, and the culture shock we first experienced when moving to Louisiana. We had no idea we were moving to a foreign land.

From phrases like “cher, bebe’” to “get down” and “save the dishes” there is a lot to absorb!

When I was a child, we called our bottoms (yes, our backsides) a “Bobo,” so you can imagine my surprise when the Mothers’ Day Out teacher let me know that my little one had a “little bobo” but not to worry, she put a Band-Aid on it. Say what? I had no idea that was a wound, we always called sore spots from accidents “boo boos.”

This spring, my Kindergartener came home from school proudly telling us about what he learned in school. “Did you know that we live in the boot? This is the Pelican State!” I looked at my husband and instantly knew what he was thinking. Everything is indeed bigger in Texas, including a Texan’s pride in their state. He said, “we have so much to teach you, son!” But really, we are proud of all he is learning. We were just shocked to not hear of the lone star state, the bluebonnets, and the armadillos of our school days. However, he can teach us and us him. I really knew we were raising a Cajun when H went to visit my parents to attend a golf camp in North East Texas. He had to get close to the water to hit his next shot and he announced to the kids near him:

“Don’t worry. We are safe. There are no alligators in Texas ponds.”

I write all of this in humility. We truly love where we live, our friends, and the memories we have made. It is fun to swap stories with friends about how we were raised, things we like to eat, traditions celebrated. When my friends are firing up their pots of Gumbo, we are cooking chicken stew. We both know there is plenty to go around. My kids live for Mardi Gras! I did not even know this existed until I was a teenager. I was shocked to find out that schools close to celebrate. It is November now and my kids are saying “it is almost winter and you know what that means: Mardi Gras!” They love to teach us what they are learning and together we are starting new traditions as a young family. This is what life is all about.

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

Jennifer Heitman
Jennifer is a Texas native turned Louisiana transplant. She and her wonderful husband, Cole, have two honorary Cajun boys: Henry (6) and Max (3). She is a proud graduate of the University of Texas (Hook 'Em!) and loves shocking Tiger fans everywhere with her Texas Longhorn clothing. She loves to travel and be outdoors, especially on the water! When she is not wrangling her little boys, she can be found trying a new workout or reading a new book, and drinking far too many Diet Dr. Peppers.


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