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By Thea Theresa English

Telltale signs you're from Louisiana

I live in Louisiana and I just love the culture and historical significance of this state. I wanted to write a fun tribute to my home state by discussing some of the telltale signs of a Louisiana resident. One popular statement I hear a lot here in the state is "making groceries". There was a store called Schwegmann's in my hometown of New Orleans and as a kid I used to see the slogan "We're making groceries" on the store's brown grocery bags and in their commercials. Sure it does not make much sense to outsiders but I think it's funny.

Tabasco is our favorite homegrown hot sauce

Tabasco has its beginnings in the state of Louisiana and we don't just put it on gumbo or jambalaya. I know some relatives who put this hot sauce on pizza, barbecue ribs, burgers and even pasta dishes. Tabasco is a Louisiana staple that has since gained national culinary recognition. Speaking of Tabasco, I'm running low and need to put it on my list so I won't forget it when I make groceries later.

Grandma and Grandpa are called Maw Maw and Paw Paw

While this is not the case with every Louisiana family, there are many grandparents who go by the titles of Maw Maw and Paw Paw. This is the case in my family. I have an 11-month-old and when my dad plays with her, he uses the term Paw Paw as the term for grandfather. My mother uses the term Maw Maw frequently to identify herself when interacting with my baby.

Great food in homes and at restaurants

Another telltale sign of a Louisiana resident is his amazing culinary skills. I enjoy visiting friends' homes where I can eat delicious Louisiana staples such as gumbo, crawfish etouffee, jambalaya, pralines and red beans with smoked sausage and rice. And the state's restaurants also have amazing food. I tend to compare foods in other states with Louisiana often.

You're all about the festivals

You know you're from Louisiana when you get excited about upcoming festivals throughout the state. There is a festival for all kinds of things and they include an oyster festival, crawfish festival, festivals representing the state's cultural diversity and festivals that deal with the state's rich history.

You talk about dirty politics often

Louisiana has no shortage of political scandals and here in Louisiana we talk often about the craziness that is Louisiana politics. From the scandals of former state congressman William Jefferson to the corruption trial of former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin, it seems that dirty politics have become a somewhat embarrassing yet weirdly humorous aspect of life here.

Outdoor activities make you feel good

Fishing is a major pastime in Louisiana and so is bike riding and going on road trips. I've never gone fishing but every few weeks I go on road trips to different cities in Louisiana to savor all that my home state has to offer. We are surrounded by Lake Ponchartrain, the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River. In addition, this state has a few neat parks and walkways.

We have parishes, not counties

I live in Orleans Parish and in this state we call the different regions parishes. Perhaps this is because of the leftover influence of Catholicism in the state from centuries past when this state was settled by the French and later the Spanish.

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