The Cajun Experience

Joe Reynolds

New Orleans is a city of decadence, a city of jubilation, and above all else, a city of music. Some of my fellow editors and I were fortunate enough to attend a conference in the Bayou during the last week of October, and the cultural experience alone deserves a mention.
This New Englander will confess to possessing an array of southern character stereotypes: “Nascar loving, slow talking, resistant to transition, gun toting folk” – to name a few. While I still maintain some of my perceptions, the solidarity behind the universal American cause quickly became impossible to ignore.
Listening to someone with a Tennessee twang commiserate and someone with a Boston accent was, without exaggeration, an awakening and a startling experience.
New Orleans is a city of profound madness. There is the renowned and unmistakably original Cajun Creole cuisine, (I ate gumbo twice and I still have no idea what it is) and the Bohemian paradise entitled Bourbon Street, (I witnessed things occurring in broad daylight that would probably catch one a five year prison stint in New Haven), but overlapping these phenomena was the evident similarity of the current American viewpoint.
There is equity in the amount of grief, sorrow, and resolve that is permeating the regions of this nation. A quiet sense of unity is being forged by the flying of the American flag and the omni-present billboards reading, “United We Stand.”
I love my home. I cherish our seasons, revere our history, and even tolerate clam chowder, but I respect our brothers and sisters to the south. And I can still hear the music.