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Louisiana is a richly-vibrant state that prides itself on its cultural diversity, enthusiasm, history, tourism, and festivals. The people are extremely hospitable and generous. The state is also known for being a “Melting Pot,” blending the cultures of the French, Spanish, Native Americans, and Africans (32% of the population). The multicultural heritage of the state is attributed to the early exploration and colonization of Europeans in the 16th century.
Louisiana is also known for its availability of sporting events, music, and especially food. Much of the state also revolves around water, as the Port of South Louisiana (located on the Mississippi River) is the largest volume shipping port in the Western Hemisphere. Rest assured that you will eat well in this mission field- in fact, most missionaries gain weight while serving!
The church is still fairly small in Louisiana but, they are extremely kind and hospitable. The majority of the church members associate with non-members on a regular basis and love to do missionary work. Many members left the area after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and church boundaries were redrawn.
Seafood is a staple of Louisianian life, including crawfish, shrimp, and oysters. Louisiana folk also love their food hot, and prefer spicing up most dishes. You will be introduced to many exciting dishes, including gumbo (thick, strongly-flavored soup-like dish with seafood and vegetables, served over rice), jambalaya (Creole dish of French and Spanish influence consisting of vegetables, particularly tomatoes, added to rice and combined with meat), muffulettas (olive salad, cheeses, salami and ham smothered on Sicilian sesame bread), po-boys (or “poor boy,” is a submarine sandwich usually consisting of fried seafood and layered on baguette-like French bread), beignets (French term for a deep-fried pastry, covered in powdered sugar), and alligator meat.
Most missionaries either have bikes or a car. Outside the suburban areas, you will need to use a car to get places, as cities are often times separated by vast stretches of marshland or bodies of water.
Like anywhere else, it is important to be cautious and aware of your surroundings. Stay with your companion at all times, adhere to mission guidelines regarding returning home early in the evening, and stay out of areas that appear to be more “sketchy” or that you have been told are more dangerous.
Locals are fairly affectionate. You will oftentimes be referred to with affectionate terms of endearment such as “baby”- this is just their customary way of embracing what is often referred to as “Southern hospitality.”
The pace of life is also a lot slower. For example, people will not walk up an escalator, but rather wait until it reaches the next level before moving.
The streets are usually under construction- this is because the state, which is actually already below sea-level, is built upon water. Subsequently, watch out for potholes.
“Where y’at?” (This is a condensed way of their saying, “Where are you?” It is a fun way of opening up a dialogue with someone).
Bring heavy rain gear- you will get soaked. Bug spray is also a must-have; mosquitoes abound in this swampy environment.
Street names often change names, from Spanish to French (depending upon which side of the city you are in). New Orleans in particular is a city largely focused on celebrations. Embrace it! Not only will you yourself have a little bit of fun, but it is a great way to meet potential investigators by sharing in their enthusiasm and zest for life!
12025 Justice Ave
Baton Rouge LA 70816
Straight from the Louisiana Baton Rouge Mission:
*What items were hard to get or not available?
*What did you eat the most of? “crawfish, jambalaya, gumbo, and fast food.”
*What is the craziest thing you ate? “Alligator.”
*What was most surprising about the culture?
*What advice would you give to someone going to the Louisiana Baton Rouge Mission? “Be prepared for the humid. Love the people.” -Joseph
*What do you wish you had known before you served? “How humid it got down there. How stubborn other religions are.” -Joseph
**Did you serve in the Louisiana Baton Rouge Mission? If so we would love to hear your advice and your stories! Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org**