Like much of Louisiana, Lake Charles is either at or barely over sea level. Graveyards throughout the state often show mausolea above ground to avoid seepage and flooding characteristic of extensive shallows. Though the graveyard depicted is nothing like the countless tombs aboveground in the necropoli of New Orleans and elsewhere, the prevailing practice is to leave much of the plot aboveground.
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I was always amazed at the politeness with which I was addressed while being there. Whenever I asked a yes or no question, I always got a crisp "Yes, sir!" or "No, sir!" When I would thank someone, the response was always "Yor Welcum"
A few differences in culture and customs in SWLA
Some differences between the rest of the this country and southwest Louisiana.
It is unlikely you will hear Spanish spoken in this region. Most speak English, with a thick southern accent. If you are around older people they likely will speak Cajun French as their first language. Most Cajun people also speak English. The language will be close to extinct in another twenty years, if nothing is done to keep it around.
This region is the home of Cajun and Zydeco music. There are many music related events locally. Live music is everywhere. There are old fashioned music halls scattered about the countryside. There's live music most days of the week in many restaurants. On weekends there are public music events at dance halls and at the VFW. You could call them "fay-do-dos", an old name for a barn dance with an overnight stay in the hay loft.
There's great food! There's all kinds of seafood: shrimp available, blue crabs, oysters, catfish, red fish, flounder, and speckled trout, to name a few. A lot of the fish and seafood is fried to perfection.
Craw-fish season is January through June. Pork is big and it's fixed to die for. It's common to go into a place for lunch and order a "plate lunch", always a great meal. Several places in town serve Po'-Boys. You can order shrimp, oysters, crab, catfish, or some combination of meats. There's some old time places that serve some foods that are traditional and....interesting. For the most part, it is not expensive to eat out. I see no reason eat at any fast food chains.
There are meat markets everywhere. Where out west you go to the back of a grocery store to find a butcher, there are those too. In addition there's meat markets, a store you walk into and are waited on by a butcher. Most meat markets serve hot boudin and cracklins. They all make their own flavors of sausage links (like Hillshire Farms, only original and much better).
People are for the most part very nice and polite. It's all yes sir, no sir. Families are tight and meet up often. People like to hunt and fish. But hunting is different than I see in the west (where I am from). People put corn out for the deer, climb into a tree stand and wait for the deer to come to the food (then blamo). I don't hunt (but I do like deer sausage). When you go fishing here, you catch fish.
People will see their friends driving the other direction. Occasionally, they stop for a short visit in the middle of the road. You wait. When a funeral passes you on the road you stop and wait for it to pass. Some people drive slow. People are patient and polite. Others drive like a bat outta hell. Cars don't usually stop for pedestrians! Use extreme caution if you need to cross a street.
The area is very historical. It was not included in the Louisiana Purchase. It was "no mans land" that was full of thieves and outlaws. It was populated by French immigrants after the English expelled them from Canada (these are the Cajun people). It is not New Orleans. The culture and make up of the population is different here (there's not all the violence, either).
I have seen red fox, bobcats, a Mt. Lion, deer, rabbits, armadillo, turtles, otters, alligators and thousands of birds here at my place here. This area is known as "Sportsman's Paradise".
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