The Pelican State

We're traveling to Louisiana today on a research trip. This state is where I was born and spent the first 20 years of my life. The picture to the left is of the Atchafalaya Basin, but it looks pretty much like every place my dad took us fishing when we were kids. (By U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, photographer not specified or unknown [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.)

Louisiana has been a state since 1812. With all the giant magnolia trees in the state, it's no wonder that the large, white, fragrant bloom is the state flower.

The state is the 25th most populous of the 50 United States with its capital, Baton Rouge, being the home of LSU (Louisiana State University). Just about everyone knows that the largest city in the state is New Orleans.

There aren't too many large cities. According to population, these are ranked from largest: New Orleans (360,740), Baton Rouge, Shreveport, Metairie, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Kenner, Bossier City, Monroe, and Alexandria (47,723).

In fact, that's pretty much all the cities that could be considered sizable. There are so many rivers and bayous in the state that a lot of cities are set up across the river from each other. All of the ones above have a corresponding city across a river.

For instance, Bossier City is across the Red River from Shreveport. Metairie is a sister to New Orleans. West Monroe is across the Ouachita River from Monroe. Alexandria is across the Red River from Pineville, and so on.


My research is for a book I plan to publish next year. The book is a mystery/romance with a strong element of humor. I would give my title, but I've had the misfortune of my titles being "taken" before I can get my book published. Suffice it to say that the title is perfect for this mystery/romance.

I've created a fictional parish that's a stand-in for the one where I lived during high school. I'm going to take pictures of some of the 1930's architecture and some old main streets in the small towns in the parish. I'll probably end up shooting a couple hundred photos.

I'm also going to visit with a group of fans there and talk about books and writing. Should be fun.

Takeaway Truth

When I was in college, one of my professors told about a friend from up North who thought that alligators crawled alongside the highways in the state. Wouldn't you know it? When I was driving that night, I had to slam on the brakes and wait for a big alligator to cross the road. True story. First time and the last time I ever saw that.

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