Perspective is my secret weapon; traveling, new friends, and books give me plenty of ammunition. Louisiana causes you to say, “Yep, all the stereotypes are false and true at the same time.” The roads and towns look like any other in the US. The deep south doesn’t seem so different. I can’ tell the difference between the red and blue states except for one thing, the economics.

It is painfully obvious that there hasn’t been an influx of wealth in the parts of Louisiana that I have visited. A least not for a long while. There are no new strip malls with Sur le Table, Chipotle, and Starbucks as anchors. There are no new strip malls period. There is no new. There are no doggy day cares, no micro breweries, and no tapas restaurants. However, there are shrimp joints, crayfish joints, catfish joints, and alligator tail joints dotting the roads. There are casinos at every truck stop, museums of taxidermied animals, and 3 liquor stores at a four corner intersection.

What is also apparent is that people are the same wherever you go. There are beautifully kind people at every turn. Tiffany let me take a shower with the hose at Antioch Baptist Church. Hillary offered me a shower and allowed me to escape the heat and deluge outside while I painted her a picture. Marcus, a young man of 18, gave me some of his hard earned dollars from his summer job saying only, “God bless you,” regardless of my protest to the contrary. Wayne and Alanna after listening to my stories drone on, stocked me up with so much water, I thought I might drown.

It seems that despite the differences in climate, latitude, time, food, economics, politics, religion, and accent people are all the same. We all want to sit in the backyard drink a beer and avoid mosquitos. We all want to be loved and to love. We all want peace. It isn’t that I expected anything different, it is just that I’ve never been to the South, and…I stick out a bit. It isn’t that I wasn’t sure, but I am now thoroughly convinced, people are good the world over.

Love, Art, & Peace to All.