Louisiana is the Pontchartrain Causeway, an endless ribbon of highway across the water.
Louisiana is the Lake Charles Bridge. Louisiana is remembrances of my father's family's vacations.
Louisiana is a high school French class taught by an elderly Cajun woman. It's a French Food day with a stock pot with a whole damned chicken in it and sausages that I'm not sure we should have eaten.
Louisiana is realizing the French I learned isn't the French anyone else speaks. I skipped most of French III, though, so I might be wrong.
Louisiana is watching a baseball game in Houston with a Cajun girl I'm nervous around. She's sitting next to me on the bleachers while we watch the team dressed in white and brown warm up for the game. She tells me the story of how they met. She and her friends had come down to Nacogdoches to watch an ex-boyfriend play. How the catcher on the opposing team had asked her out, from all the girls in the crowd, and she wound up drunk at his place, sorting through his mail trying to figure out who he was. How she knew getting into bed with him was a bad idea, but she couldn't even help herself. How her family was livid when she dropped out to marry him. How she knew he wasn't the perfect man, but he was hers. At least for now, she ended with a sigh. I followed her gaze out towards the dugout, where he was going over the lineup. And instead of the guilt or shame I should have been feeling, there was this rush.
I sat and listened to her and watched as the game started and I kept the books and wore a t-shirt with a baseball on it, and his ball cap with his name inside the brim. White cap dingy with sweat and a brown MC on the front.
Louisiana is her getting up to go take a smoke and him coming over and spitting on the ground in front of me, sunflower seeds.
"You don't need to worry about her," he tells me.
"I might never worry about her again," I said, full of the risk of this entire conversation.
"Good. You're way smarter than she'll ever be."
Well no shit, I thought, but didn't say.
Louisiana feels a little rundown and a little scary, a little foreign and beaucoup de risques.
Have I been to Louisiana? In several ways.