The older I get, the more I realize that Louisiana is the exception, not the rule. Growing up with the internet, my life has been full of “wait, is this not a thing elsewhere?” drive-through daiquiri shops, Tony’s, holidays for Mardi Gras, the list goes on and on and on. Because of that, the older I get the prouder and prouder I become of the fact that like the song suggests I am indeed from Louisiana, and Louisiana proper at that, not this South Arkansas foolishness.
And this does come with problems. In things that matter, like actually matter, Louisiana is at or near the bottom of the list in nearly every category. We have more fun living because life here kinda demands it. The roads are shit and so are the schools, from pre-K all the way up to graduate schools and each year it seems like the state has less and less money. And yet I’ve still grown so attached to this stupid dumb state that I am deathly afraid of the prospect of leaving it behind. Part of the reason for this is that my family never traveled much, especially far. In fact, I have never left the south, not once in my life.
And there are nice places in the south. Birmingham in my opinion is strongly underrated, only eclipsed by the natural wonder of Boone, North Carolina, the only place where I have been cold and been completely ok with it because the landscape was beautiful enough to negate all the bad parts of cold weather. Atlanta has a very well-earned reputation and for some reason I root for what was until this year the most disappointing professional sports team in the city along with a loose Georgia Tech affiliation.
But Houston? I fell in love with Houston from the jump. Any city in Texas conjures up images of stetsons and guns, and dirt, and football, and boots, and jeans, and in some places that’s completely spot on. Most people from Texas are very quick to point out the fact that they are from Texas, but in my mind Houston is more an extension of Louisiana than it is Texas. And that’s fine, as stated above I am all for having pride in your state so long as you can realize it’s flaws. But Houston is different. Houston doesn’t concern itself with the happenings of the state it belongs to. Houston does what Houston wants. I guess for that reason it is the most Texas city, but the city just rides different waves.
For example, rap music. New York and Los Angeles may be the meccas for rap and hip hop, but Houston, Atlanta, and the Bay Area definitely have shaped it the most along it’s relatively young life. Half of rap’s colloquial terms come from Oakland, and the high energy trap music is as tied to Atlanta as possible, but Houston went in a different direction stylistically. When everybody else began trying to see how fast they could go either with their lyrics or their bass kicks, Houston focused on slowing it down. Way down. And now after years and years of rejecting it, rap as a whole is starting to come around to it, especially in trap music oddly enough. Rattling hi-hats are being dumped in favor of the more atmospheric feel with the same synthesizer concepts that Grim Rhodes used on Wanna Be A Baller in 98.
But more than anything else, Houston was there for my state when we needed them the most. I cannot tell you how many people I know moved to Houston after Katrina and moved back when the time was right, be it by Christmas 2006 or for college, and I wasn’t even from an area that was hit all that hard by the hurricane. And every single one of them spoke highly and commended the city for how well they accepted the refugees. And now we have a chance to return the favor and treat them like they treated us a decade ago and for somebody who loves his state as much as I do, that means a lot.
It’s not lost on me that the flagship one of the most prideful states in the union is kicking off the season in the state’s largest city with a living caricature of the state as a newly minted head coach. That part could not possibly be any more fitting. But it’s also strongly important that we don’t forget why the game is being played where it is and find a way, no matter how big the impact, to help out the city where the stadium drops the top, the city of swang, the city that sips slow, Clutch City, the city of the purple drank, htine, the Space City.
And when we kickoff at 8:30 Saturday night, put the deuces up for H-Town.