"Floyd's Girl" outlines a distinctly Southern problem: the invasion of outsiders disrespecting the contained culture that has blossomed in the South, and how the Southern people respond as a community to preserve their dignity and protect their own. Lizette, the damsel in distress of this tale, is fretted over as an important part of the community who would be ruined if the outsiders took her away. The story unites the people of the countryside to bring their daughter home, to keep her safe in their loving and familiar arms and stand rooted to their homeland, a folk tale repeated countless times as a heroic endeavor championed by Southern life.
The Southern relationship with religion, the land, and themselves intertwines itself into folk songs and family traditions that persist to this day in the rural country we explored. We got a taste of the landscape, swept by summer rains and thrumming with the tap of shoes on wood floors and the whining harmony of fiddles fluting on the air. Seafood restaurants house the whooping calls of dance floor regulars; dancing with the locals felt like time traveling to a land where the only kind of music came from the folks who felt passionate enough to come together and play it.
We were shown that the Cajun culture persists regardless of generational gaps, for there is a distinct emphasis on the importance of family and living life as one's ancestors had, eating the same food and playing the same music, breathing the same humid air. Upon visiting Tom's Fiddle and Bow (a small music shop in Arnaudville) for a potluck and musical jam session, we were welcomed with the familiarity and kindness of neighbors. With Zydeco - a type of music that originated in Southern Louisiana involving accordion and string instruments - and home-made bean dishes to fill me up, I could close my eyes and feel at home with the rhythm of this easy kind of life.
The distinctness of Southern life is infused in each and every soul born beneath the warmth of the cicada sunshine and every heart that wanders the green fields in search of promise. With this distinct sense of being Southern comes a regionalism that defines the borders of the South among its residents: music, religious celebration, language, food, weather, and cultural traditions. As an outsider myself, I'm jealous of the sense of groundedness, the sense of being rooted into the lush, dark earth of Mississippi silt like the people I've met on my journey through Louisiana. However, I feel that I can appreciate where these people come from, and their warm reception of us - even in our big FBI-like van and with eclectic, foreign personalities - made me feel right at home.