I'll never forget the one time I traveled to Rome. The traffic is crazy. The streets are in disrepair. The government functions marginally. The people are passionate about everything, especially food, coffee, wine and music. I thought, "Holy cow, I'm in New Orleans!"
Then I realized that Lafayette (which I sometimes refer to as Little Orleans) is not far off from the passion of Europe. The recent Mardi Gras season is a staunch reminder.
In the country side revelers in home made costume look almost exactly as they would have in rural France hundreds of years ago. In the city passionate krewe members have been partying since Christmas. The city practically closes for two days to make way for parades that begin two Saturdays before. When people here throw a party it lasts for days or weeks.
But if Mardi Gras doesn't convince you, consider a few other things. We're constantly ranking top in the nation for best food and people here know it. Eating is a sport not to be taken lightly in Lafayette (more on that in coming posts).
Our politics are also referred to as a contact sport, from time to time. And like Rome, the streets aren't in great shape and traffic can get competitive.
But we are the happiest city in this country and here's why: We live with passion. Passion for the best food, the biggest party, the most laughter and the infectious beat of our own brand of music. This is a place where people don't just survive, we thrive.
If you don't have fun when you're here, well it's probably your fault. But we'll try to change that next time you visit.
So when somebody asks you about what it is that makes Lafayette and South Louisiana so intriguing, fun and unique, an easy way to answer is to say that the people here are passionate like Europeans in many ways. Note also that the French and Spanish (and German, and more) settlers didn't take all of Europe to Louisiana ... just the best parts!