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What do I need to know about living in Louisiana?

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The Louisiana lifestyle is a unique blend of culture. The culinary scene has been enhanced by Louisiana's deep-rooted French and Spanish influences, while the 'Joie de Vivre (the joy of living) that permeates daily life in Louisiana was brought here originally by the Acadians. Louisiana also boasts an array of festivals that celebrate Louisiana culture.

Living in Louisiana is not always easy. Louisiana has many quirks and customs, including some that are hard to grasp for outsiders. The Louisiana way of life is very different to places such as New York or Chicago but if you get past these idiosyncrasies (even embrace them), Louisiana will be one of the most rewarding places you will ever live.

Here are 5 things you need to know about Louisiana:

1) Louisiana is a very diverse state culturally and demographically. Louisiana can best be described as the true melting pot of America. Louisiana has one of the densest concentrations of Native Americans in the country, with almost 50 different languages spoken amongst its residents. Louisiana also has the second highest Creole population in the country and Louisiana's Cajun heritage is celebrated throughout most of Louisiana, yet it remains one of the least known ethnicities in Louisiana since much of its culture is still overshadowed by its French roots.

2) Louisiana residents love to party - Especially in New Orleans. The 'Big Easy ' (New Orleans) is the birthplace of Mardi Gras and Louisiana has some of the most lavish festivals you will ever encounter. Louisiana also has a huge annual street party called 'French Quarter Fest' [usually the week before Mardi Gras]. Louisiana's festivals include Jazz Fest, Second Lines, Louisiana Renaissance Festival [which features jousting and a Lancelot look-alike contest], Louisiana Seafood Festival, Louisiana Black Heritage festival, Louisiana Swamp Romp [which offers canoeing and airboat rides through the Louisiana swamp], Louisiana Bluegrass Festival, Creole Tomato Festival (in Baton Rouge), Louisiana Watermelon Festival and many more.

3) Louisiana has some of the best food in the world Louisiana's cuisine is a cornerstone of Louisiana culture. Louisiana hosts some of the best restaurants in the world and Louisiana's hospitality is legendary. Roadside diners are about as common as front porches here, and you'll find people willing to share their food with you when you see a Louisiana family enjoying a meal on their porch or lawn . Louisiana's food is so good that you'll find Louisiana recipes on menus all over the country. Louisiana favorites include Jambalaya, Gumbo and Po'Boys (a New Orleans tradition of sandwiches served on baguette-style loaves). Louisiana also has Creole/Cajun cuisine which features flavors unique to Louisiana. Louisiana is also home to Louisiana crawfish. Louisiana is the only place in the world where you can find crawfish that will fit into a bottle cap, and Louisiana crawfish are known for their exceptionally succulent flavor.

4) Louisiana has some of the most beautiful scenery in America Louisiana has bayous as well as long strips of sandy beaches. Louisiana also has exceptional wilderness areas, including several Louisiana state parks with campgrounds that feature Louisiana cabins. Louisiana's spectacular scenery is part of the reason Louisiana is often referred to as 'America in Miniature'. Louisiana is home to America's largest swamp (the Atchafalaya Basin), and Louisiana's swamps are truly spectacular. There is also Louisiana's rugged Louisiana coastline, Louisiana's Louisiana Bayou country and Louisiana's Cajun prairies. Louisiana is also home to the Louisiana Black Bear and Louisiana is famous for its herds of wild Louisiana deer.

5) Louisiana has a strong sense of Southern hospitality. There are certain things you can count on in Louisiana: Good music, good food , and Louisiana hospitality. Louisiana is sometimes called the 'Most Southern Place on Earth' (Louisiana was a French colony before Louisiana became part of the United States of America), and Louisiana's culture is deeply rooted in Louisiana's history, Louisiana's festivals and Louisiana's food. Louisiana features a Cajun Festival almost every weekend during most of the year, Louisiana Mardi Gras is Louisiana's most important Louisiana festival (celebrated in New Orleans 'French Quarter), Louisiana has Louisiana crawfish, Louisiana jambalaya, Louisiana Gumbo and all the good things you expect when someone says 'living on Southern hospitality.

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The Louisiana lifestyle is a unique blend of culture, and can be seen in the culinary scene with its deep rooted French and Spanish influences. It's also evident in everyday life here through the 'joie de vivre' (the joy of living) that permeates daily life in Louisiana was brought here originally by the Acadians [French settlers from Canada]. This joie de vivre is celebrated during festivals throughout the year including Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday which takes place on February 18 this year! Whether you're visiting for work, pleasure or family time, why not plant your garden now? Spring planting season starts March 1st so it will give you something to look forward to when winter finally lets go

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