Louisiana perishes; I mean parishes

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Louisiana parish mapThe August 20, 2019 comic strip Pearls Before Swine has a Louisiana joke. Pig is explaining to Goat about studying the state’s administrative map for a class. Pig worries about what happens to a couple counties if the Mississippi River floods.

Goat: Parishes
Pig: That poor county
Goat: Never mind

Yes, Louisiana has parishes as its primary substate division, whereas most US states have counties. This is as a result of the state’s heavily Roman Catholic influenced past when it was controlled by France or Spain.

Laissez les bon temps rouler! And that’s in part why there’s Mardi Gras. Let the good times roll on Fat Tuesday, before becoming solemn for Lent, starting on Ash Wednesday.

When my daughter was learning the states, she always appreciated that Louisiana was shaped like an L.

LA Louisiana. The traditional abbreviation is La. The capital is Baton Rouge; the largest city is New Orleans.


I don’t think I’ve told this work story. In 1995, I was working for the New York Small Business Development Center. Per a contract with the Small Business Administration, we were providing business library reference for ALL the SBDCs in the country between 1992 and 1998.

Part of my job was to interact with all the statewide programs. My new boss did not seem to understand this. When she decided to go to the national (ASBDC) conference in New Orleans, she decided to bring her favored librarian, but not me. She said she couldn’t afford to have three of the seven librarians out of the office for three or four days.

Meanwhile, my girlfriend had achieved some significant designation through an insurance certification entity. She received a trip for two to Honolulu for the same time frame. She invited me, but I declined. If my boss wasn’t going to let me go to Nawlins when it was work-related, she surely wouldn’t allow me to go to Hawaii. Even asking my boss if I could go to the islands, I felt would undercut my argument that I should be going to Louisiana.

At nearly the last moment, my boss decided to allow me to go to the conference after all. This was not a function of the strength of my argument. It was her realization that she and the other librarian couldn’t possibly carry all the material she wanted to bring. In other words, I got the chance to actually do my job because I could schlep stuff.

It has been the only time I’ve been to Louisiana. I ended up having les bon temps, even though it WASN’T Mardi Gras.

There are a LOT of songs about the state and its largest city. Here are only a couple.
Goin’ Back To New Orleans – the late, great Dr. John
Louisiana 1927 – Randy Newman

L is for Louisiana for ABC Wednesday

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