By Ken LaRive
I am an Acadian, and my heritage runs deep in my veins. I am proud of my people, and though I speak in a slightly different New Orleans accent, I am a Cajun.
Records say that some of my ancestors did not come from Nova Scotia, but directly from France, and so I feel a tie there too. Of all the places I have lived in this world, Lafayette I call home.
Lafayette is the ‘paradise’ of this state, and for many reasons. Along with our brother Texas, we fuel the lion’s share of energy, and our French Heritage is the building blocks, the cornerstone, the backbone of what makes Lafayette.
I fled the crime of New Orleans because I wanted to raise my family in a place where my values were important to others...
The first day I moved to these parts I got a flat on Ridge Road. I wasn’t out of my car for a moment when a truckload of boys pulled over and jumped out. They were tall athletic types, and moved deliberately to where I stood on the side of the road.
I thought they were going to take my wallet, maybe my life, and I cussed myself for leaving my gun on the front seat. This is what New Orleans had made of me. To survive, one had to be on constant guard, fearful, and forever vigilant.
One guy walked past me and put out a reflective sign for safety, and another one said: “No need to get your suit dirty sir.” I remember the flood of emotion that swept over me as I watched these fine young Cajun boys change my tire. It was done in a practiced moment, and they waved good-by, not accepting the twenty dollars I held out. They seemed almost offended by the offer.
Lafayette: I see the same crime, the same corruption, the same negligence that strangled New Orleans attempting to take hold here, and though deep in my heart I am fearful that it could happen again, when I think of those young Cajun boys I feel better. This area is just too strong to take. Not to worry, the Acadian culture was born from hard times and struggle, and will long endure. No way will it ever be given away or compromised!
The savvy strength of our Acadian ancestors was legendary in this country, ask the Spanish, and our Napoleonic Law is a testament to their tenacity. Our kids are cut from the same cloth.