i depart from fiction today to write a long-overdue love note to the state that's been my home for the last three years. when i left home to go to law school in louisiana, i was really disillusioned with things as they were. i was in a rut, plain and simple. it was time for a change, time to shake things up. but i had no idea whatsoever what lay in store for me when i arrived in baton rouge on july 31, 2007 to start my career at LSU paul m. hebert law center.
leaving a major city to go back to a college town had its downsides. there's no doubt about it. but a funny thing happened to me as i grew into my new life: as much as i missed what i'd left, i came to love LSU, its people, and the state as a whole. LSU was an amazing place to spend three years. i had brilliant professors who broke me of my old way of looking at the world and rebuilt me into a sound legal mind. i am profoundly different intellectually than i was when i got here, and for that i will be forever grateful. LSU law center made me a mature thinker, and moreover made me a mature person. aside from the main business at hand, though, LSU brought me some incredible people. my nearest and dearest from PMH know who they are. i'm not sure i ever made this clear enough in our three years together, and if i didn't, that was my fault. but this is for y'all: thank you so, so much for all the love and support you showed me. i never would've made it without you. you held me up when i was sure i couldn't go on, you laughed with me, you listened to me. i only hope i can be as good a friend to each of you as you've been to me over the years. i love you all.
and it's weird; i never saw it coming, but it's true what they say about living in louisiana. it's unlike any place else in the country, and probably any place else on earth. i grew up in the deep south; 17 years as a gulf coast kid made me think i understood southern life. i had no idea what i was in for. louisiana is a jewel among places in our country, even with its flaws. there is no place more special. there's a way of life here that can't be replicated anywhere else, and it's something to be cherished. when you read about this oil spill and what it threatens, understand that it threatens something so valuable, so irreplaceable in american life that it should inspire everyone to demand solutions now. the people here have suffered long enough, as rep. melancon so eloquently stated this week.
there's a lot about this place that makes me angry. there's a lot that frustrates me. but for everything i don't like, there are five things i love about louisiana. the deep love i hold in my heart for new orleans alone could fill a book. if you ever need to know about south louisiana, others have said it way better than i could ever say. but know that once you've lived here, once you've laughed all night long on the streets of new orleans with your friends over rum drinks, once you've experienced boudin balls, crawfish boils and cochon de lait, once you've watched the sun find its home in the western sky as it becomes saturday night in tiger stadium, you just know. and you'll never be the same again.
i love my yankee, big-city mid-atlantic home. i am thrilled beyond belief to get back to what i knew before. but i am forever changed. i'm a law-school graduate now, and that's great. but i've also given a part of my heart and soul to the sportsman's paradise, the pelican state, the bayou, the big easy. louisiana is in my blood forever now, and i wouldn't have it any other way. the fleur-de-lis that hangs around my neck is only a small token of the way louisiana has changed me, got into me, and made me who i am today. i love this place for that. always will. so as i get ready to fly back to my old life, i leave a piece of myself behind. i sure never expected to fall for this place as i did. but for what you gave me, what you made me, and what you showed me, louisiana, i have only one thing to say: