Coming from a small town in Pennsylvania, the state of Louisiana is often forgotten about in our thoughts about the United States. If anyone has ever had any connections with Louisiana, it is often misconceptions about Louisiana—such as the newest TV hit “Duck Dynasty” or about a time when they traveled down to New Orleans to celebrate the lively, yet eccentric world of Mardi gras. Due to these limited perceptions, people tend to be misled about the traditional way of life in the majority of Louisianan communities, which tell a much solemn story to how life really is. But that’s about to change.
Upon arriving in the small bayou town of Larose, Louisiana, our group was immediately greeted with a sincere welcoming, as we had been a part of their town all along. Soon after, I instantly noticed the network of community bonding at its best: several dozen residents were working together in the kitchen, to smoothly bake and transport food to the festival. Dozens of multi-generational families had come together under one large pavilion to promote their culture by cooking delicious homemade dishes. A few community members spread their experiences through live music entertainment, which brought numerous people together to support the small country bands and created a nonjudgmental atmosphere for residents to partake in recreational Cajun dancing. The majority of the town knew everyone by their first names and always had something complementing to say to each other. However, it was the perseverance of the community which was the most remarkable.
Beneath the cooking and entertainment, there was a story of hardship and devastation. Besides having to deal with the frequent hurricanes that visit the Louisianan coast, the community of Larose has been battling with the overwhelming effects of the BP oil spill in 2010, as well as the fear of the rapidly declining coastal regions. Many of their residents lost their jobs and threat of limited fresh water and food came upon them. With the help of a few people, the whole community was able to overcome these challenges once more, and continue to live their lives as if nothing had ever occurred at all. For most of the United States, people often ignored the oil spill as a “minor accident” because they couldn’t imagine the suffering these people experienced or how much this affected their daily lives. But listening to Celeste’s story brought a sense of sympathy in my heart, and made me understand the TRUE way of life for Louisianans.
So, what does leadership mean to me? It’s a group of people sacrificing every last resource you have, in order to bring the community together for prosperity and restoration. It’s not giving up, showing support for each other, and continuing the traditions of your lives. From traveling to Larose, I feel now it’s my responsibility to help inform my homeland about true Louisianan lifestyles, because with the impeding problems of coastal erosion, a remarkable lifestyle may be lost and forgotten.
–Live Entertainment by Seabrook