Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

What it Means to be Southern This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By
The smells of fresh beignets mixed with sewage, sweat from the rising sun, pickpockets and clowns, palm readers and tourists ... these are all aspects of Ole New Orleans. This great city defines what it is to be Southern. Southerners come in many shapes and sizes, but New Orleans is the melting pot of the South with people of many colors, nationalities and accents.

People here wear sandals year-round, and can smell the summer air in early April. Sunscreen and shades are a must; locals drink beer instead of wine, use skateboards instead of snowboards. Teenagers wake board, and parents drink as they tan and talk. Children kick over crawfish holes and slide in muddy ditches when they get bored. People take ferries to and from New Orleans. Kids roller blade instead of ice skate. Teens wear tank tops and shorts instead of pullovers and jeans. All of this is part of the culture down South.

Southerners also like to have a good time, and party hard. All of these activities can work up a huge Southern appetite. Lobster is too bland for most Southerners. A crawfish boil usually consists of spicy crawfish, boiled potatoes and corn. For summer birthdays there are barbecues and "swim hops," which are lock-ins at local pools with lots of food, music, fun and laughter, People here consume soft drinks, not pop, and our snowballs are made of shaved ice and flavoring. Hole-in-the-wall diners are preferred to fancy restaurants.

Down South, communities act like big families. If anyone needs help, all they have to do is "come in and holler." Public schools are not three stories tall, and don't have pools or elevators. Houses here don't have basements, but they do have attics.

Southerners, especially in New Orleans, like to have a good time. Mardi Gras is the biggest party in the world. People from all over come to experience it. Beads and doubloons are thrown, as well as spears, cups and even lingerie. King cakes are a common dessert, but be sure not to get the "baby," because whoever finds a fake baby in their cake has to provide the king cake for the next party.

To be in Endymion is a great honor, but it's expensive. This is one of, if not the biggest, parades in New Orleans. Families go to festive balls and masked parties during spring break.

Eating beignets, shopping in the open market and having your palm read make for a typical tourist day in New Orleans. What's funny, though, is that tourists think we have an accent when really it's they who have one!

Southerners sometimes wish for a white Christmas, while Northerners are hoping that their front doors won't be blockaded by snow. We have luaus and pig roasts where kickball and volleyball games are the main events. People

grab a cool drink and teach their kids how to fish.

Some still fly the Confederate flag, but most people praise and support America's flag. We're not Yankees, but not everyone is a redneck. Not every Southerner has that laid-back accent, nor do they have the same traditions. They are all different, just as New Orleans is. All in all, though, this is a good idea of what it means to be Southern.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback