Let me first say that I am originally from a small river town in Louisiana. I grew up there and had a great childhood surrounded by relatives and friends and an extremely small graduating class (64) in comparison with the nation. That fact alone makes me friendly. I am an only child so entertainment has always been from outside sources. I moved to Los Angeles as a young woman and discovered my “urban tribe” (a group of friends who serve as a a family in a new environment). I lived there for over 25 years and I LOVED it and thought I would never leave. I did leave as the cost of living exceeded our salaries and our expectations for our own small family. I grieved that loss for over a year as we settled down in our new Baton Rouge environment.
1. People are extremely friendly.
Dallas: When I got here my first encounter was at the bank. The teller came from behind the counter to help me to fill out my paperwork from my credit union. She told me about her family, the best places to shop and easy routes from my new address.
When I arrived in Baton Rouge the service people were rude and short with me and told me off on more than one occasion.
2. It is easier to have play dates.
Dallas: This place is like heaven for me as a parent to an only child. When I was in Los Angeles or actually Playa Del Rey I never thought about race or even age. People would meet up at the pool or the beach or the park and if our kids got along text each other for playdates. I was happy to discover that it is much the same here in Dallas. “Hey we are headed down to the pool if you want to hang out.” A new neighbor texted me. People invite you into their homes and talk to you and befriend you easily here. We have been to 2 block parties and been invited to dinner by more than one person in our 2 weeks here in the outskirts of the city.
Baton Rouge: People there don’t usually move and hang out with their own family. There is a distinct color line and for those who are willing to cross it there is a price to pay. We lived in our house for one full year before we met a neighbor. She was black like me and said that while my marriage was weird she was happy that at least I was a teacher. (She said this to my face.) My husband is Brazilian so ….uh…okay. I had never really met a black racist but she told me that she was surprised that I was so friendly with my “white neighbors”. While we lived in a pristine neighborhood we were rarely invited to the homes of others although we invited others to our home. The exception was a youth minister who was just cool by anyone’s definition and we showed up and he allowed his kids to play with our son. He is to my mind a true representation to Christ.
3. People Don’t Ask Stupid Relationship Questions.
Dallas: People just greet us as husband and wife. We’ve been invited to parties already and have met one gay couple and several religious couples but no one bats an eye at the fact that we are an interracial couple. They don’t applaud it, (who needs that anyway?) but they make no commentary whatsoever.
Baton Rouge: “Are ya’ll in the military?” “How did ya’ll meet?” “What’s it like with a white man?” “What did your mama say?” “What does he see in you?” (Yes, that was the most insulting.) :”Ya’ll are just different.” “I don’t care if ya’ll are a mixed couple, I wouldn’t do it myself.” “We already have one mixed couple in the church and we accept them.”
4. People Don’t Make Stupid Assumptions About your Political Leanings.
Dallas: So far I have met people who are educated and we discuss things as Americans. This means that they talk to me as though I have a right to my thoughts and feelings and understand that while I am respectful I may have differing opinions.
Baton Rouge: People constantly spoke to me as though I was either a Republican or stupid. They insulted the President by calling him “Obamer” or they told me things like, “Your president….” They called Hillary Clinton the anti-Christ and they basically let me know that I was an acceptable black because of my education. The fact that my family has been in every branch of the military and fought in every major war still doesn’t qualify my right to free speech and thought. I just said that I was a moderate and allowed them to state their opinions. I am a moderate but I lean Democratic which should be obvious to any thinking person. African American woman from California in an interracial relationship who is both a union member and a Catholic who believes in Social Justice….uh…duh.
5. There’s so much more to do here in Dallas.
Dallas: Besides the plethora of restaurants and fun activities there’s many artistic endeavors, indoor and outdoor sports, groups and projects that can occupy the time of someone who is off for the summer.
Baton Rouge: Is a beautiful place. I really loved driving down Highland Ave. It was stunning in its beauty and simplicity. I went to the Rural Museum, The Louisiana Museum, LSU, the State Capitol and Perkins Rowe. After that there wasn’t much else unless we drove to New Orleans.
I do miss my beautiful house and my beautiful street and the low cost of living. I did make friends in Baton Rouge and I did enjoy a great spiritual life there although I felt under constant attack from evangelicals for actually being Catholic. I wish that people would realize that their political/religious thoughts do not influence everyone. I like that I can be fully myself here much the same as I was in California.
I love people and who they are and I try to live without judgment but it is tough when one is constantly being judged. While this is still not California it’s a sight better than Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I am sure that New Orleans is probably much better in this respect but unfortunately this is where we landed. As we continue our lives in Dallas and its suburbs I feel that for now this is the best place for me. No more small towns for this small town girl. I love the city and all that it entails.