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Louisiana: The Duplicitous State?

Marigny Musings

I’ve lived in this state my entire life, which should afford to me a license to point out not only its finer attributes, but also those things which, as one of our finest local tunesmiths has penned, makes you crazy to live in this town.

     What makes living in this self anointed “Sportsman’s Paradise” (the official state motto that emblazoned license plates for a few decades) especially maddening is not the French, Creole, or Cajun influence; no, its our apparent marriage with the ancient Chinese philosophy of the Yin and the Yang. Our lives in Louisiana are eternally marked by a stark contrast. While some of our national critics (thank you Glenn Beck) would point to this as an innate character flaw in our bayou waterlogged DNA, and call for our annihilation as a city and state as a result of our perceived duplicitousness, a more reasoned and intelligent viewpoint (It really is not that difficult to outthink Beck. As his fellow blowhard Limbaugh exhorts, you can do it with half your brain tied behind your back.)  is to consider Louisiana as a fine example of a life in balance.  Our state embodies the connection of opposite forces in order to yield a more perfect union. Recognizing that the Beck –ites will demand that proof be adduced of any thought that opposes the philosophy of their demi-god (you gotta love a guy who has such a high testosterone level that he prophesizes that  Christianity enables governments to redistribute wealth from Caucasians to African Americans! I provide the following:

     As King George II pronounced (nah, not the English historical figure, but America’s Trojan horse gift to the world), our country has a serious addiction to oil. The lynchpin locale of that addiction is none other than our beloved Bayou State. Through the gates of Port Fourchon in lower Lafourche Parish, approximately 20% of our nation’s jonesing is satiated. This, in turn, provides for a huge economic catalyst in Southeastern Louisiana, through the jobs and attendant tax base that is afforded by the petro-chemical industry. Yet, while our “yin” prompts us Louisianians to embrace our oily mistress, our “yang” propels us to seek shelter in the arms of the federal government, when our petroleum paramour defiles our waters and the coastline. Paradoxically, even when our federal protectorate seeks to place us in rehab via the moratorium on deep water drilling off of our coast, we play the sad role of the battered spouse who yearns for a return to her abusive mate, hoping for him to self-reform, but resigned to the unspoken realization that at some undeterminable point in the future, our physique will once again be ravaged by blows inflicted from our unstable mate.

     Even our state’s elected leaders have come to embody this omnipotent Chinese doctrine. Curiously, no better example of this is found than in our Indian rooted governor, Bobby Jindal. Unquestionably, our electorate defied its universally held perception of slack-jawed yokels who would only vote for the inbred party, and elected to our highest office, a man who not only did not look, or speak like, our natives, but also attained an educational pedigree unparalleled by any former occupant of the governor’s mansion (a Rhodes scholar nonetheless!). Yet, our “yin” man of science, has recently balanced his axis, through his “yang” criticism aimed at those with coastal studies pedigrees that opposed our governor’s demand for the construction of berms off of the Louisiana coastline as a shield against the oncoming oil drenched tides. Despite the spate of any scientific support to counter the argument that these berms could actually exasperate coastal erosion and the funneling of oil into our marshlands, our Oxford educated governor, has resorted to that laudable debate technique of espousing the equivalent of “Oh yeah, says who?!?” when confronted by such scientific data.

     Finally, my beloved Louisiana’s quest for the balance obtained from a yin-yang existence, is certainly encapsulated by our cherished state constitutional mandated homestead exemption. As a paean to the property rights crowd, Louisiana’s constitution provides that $75,000.00 of a resident’s personal abode is exempt from state property tax. To further buttress our state’s love for personal dwellings, tax assessors are publically elected, which often leads to byzantine assessment techniques, by which one man’s castle, for property tax purposes, is equated to another man’s out-house. The Chinese equilibrium quest is achieved by our perpetual underfunding of such public services as public schools and hospitals, which bear the brunt of an underfunded state fisc. While we can boast the yin induced euphoria of having one of the nation’s lowest personal tax bases, we counter that with the yang like yoak across the shoulders of having to carry on with public services that perpetually plummet to the bottom of national rankings.

     So, despite Brother Beck’s call to arms against the resurrection of our fair city and state, the nation should view us as the very epitome of Chinese existentialism. Either that, or the oppressive heat and humidity has taken its toll upon my senses, and as Alex McMurray soulfully croons, “You gotta be crazy to live in this town!”

This rant

is genius, that is, if a rant can be genius. I vote yes on that one.

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