7 Things I’ve Learned Over My First Year In Shreveport
So it's been just over a year since I changed my life, moved across the country from the Midwest to the Ark-La-Tex.
Fist off, THANK YOU to everyone who has made me feel at home. Listeners, neighbors, the amazing staff in our building, people at Mardi Gras parades, concertgoers, pretty much everyone I've came across has been tremendous.
I heard people tell me a lot when I was moving "Things are different down there/here" and you know what? That's true.
But different doesn't mean bad.
There are some amazing experiences that I've had over the last year that I never would have otherwise experienced, or would have ever considered. Some are fantastic, some are, well, interesting. But all of them are important, and I'm glad to have learned all of these things:
7. - Cracklins Are No Joke
For reals. I grew up loving pork rinds. Getting bags for less than a dollar at the local gas station, crushing them with a bottle of Mt. Dew while playing Sega Genesis...good times.
BUT. What you buy in the northern tip of Michigan in a gas station isn't even CLOSE to the glorious fried pork treats you find in Louisiana. These are life changing. I have to keep myself in check when it comes to these things.
6. - No Chicken For You On Sunday
It's just something I never thought about. It's called "Truth In Character". Chick-fil-A has their goals and their standards, and they're not prepared to sacrifice those in the face of more profits.
Because seriously, how much money would they make on family lunches on Sundays? It would be insane. But their not willing to compromise, and that's really cool.
5. - A Drive-thru Isn't Just For Fast Food
Because daiquiris need love too.
People use the term "The Most Louisiana Thing Ever", and this has to make the list every time.
4. - Those Bombers Are Loud...AND IT'S AWESOME
I guess I should be honest here, the first time I was driving down Benton Rd, and a bomber was coming in, I had a little moment by myself.
Those monsters will scare anyone playing chicken with one. Even if you know you're just driving down a road in the US, and you KNOW that's one of your country's majestic air-beasts, it still makes you a little worried.
I also try to sleep in the middle of a landing pattern. Which sometimes is interesting, but that's totally off-set by the look on my kid's faces when they're outside playing, and a bomber rolls in overhead, and they look at that underbelly and all it's patriotic glory.
3. - Gators Are Real...And They're Your Neighbor
So, I knew alligators were real...but it's not until you realize that they're wild creatures who co-exist with humans, that you 'get it'.
The first couple of times you see one physically in the wild, that feeling washes over you. Those things are real, and they're right there.
Then when it floods, like we just experienced, they are pushed further into human territory, and you see images from near you of gators under cars, on golf courses, in people's yards. It's changes things.
I still fear the water-snakes more though.
2. - There Are A Lot Of Geeks Here
After just a few months here, we had a crazy idea; let's start a comic-con type event.
Then we planned a bunch, put in A TON of hours, and out of that work came Geek'd Con.
This awesome event allowed geeks from all across the Ark-La-Tex to come hang out for three days of comics, movies, toys, and celebrity guests. Thousands of people from all over came out to celebrate everything 'geek'. It was incredible, and we can't wait to do it again!
1. - Pinch The Tail, And Suck The Head
I'm sure you figured it'd be on the list. In a city with a severe case of "Mudbug Madness", this is one of the first things you come across.
Crawfish aren't even called crawfish where I grew up. They're called crayfish, and you find one or two in a stream at a time. So growing up with that, and then seeing giant pots, and people eating them by the pound, you know you're in for a treat.
I wasn't in Shreveport for more than a month when my first plate of crawfish was in front of me, and I'm not joking when I say that I caught on quick. Just a few short instructions, a couple of test-fires, and I was cruising through my first helping. I ended up getting seconds, or maybe thirds that day.
One of the other things that I've learned, everyone eats them just a little different. Some do more peeling, some barely peel at all, others don't care if they get a little shell, and what I've starting doing, is crushing the tail back as I eat. Don't judge me.
Bonus. - Mardi Gras Isn't Just For New Orleans
I made this an "honorable mention" type addition to the list because I knew this before moving to Shreveport. But I feel like you don't GET IT until you live here.
(By the way, I'm not angry in the above picture, just concerned about wearing that mustache for the pic)
Shreveport has some of the most incredible Mardi Gras communities that I think anyone could hope to be a part of.
Sure, there were some issues with this year's parades, and people are working to make them better for the future. But most of the people I've met during these celebrations are good people, looking to have a good time with friends and family.
Thank you for letting me be a part of that.