By:  Pat Austin

The Shadows on the Teche. Now owned by The National Trust.

SHREVEPORT – I was traveling last week and because of that (and in honor of Pete’s 30-year anniversary!) I didn’t post.  Where was I?

We went to New Iberia, Louisiana to attend the Books Along the Teche Literary Festival.  We were there with people from at least twelve other states in the nation including Colorado, Michigan, Iowa, and Rhode Island as well as from several other countries.  The three-day event was filled with a variety of activities, seminars, discussion panels, bus tours, swamp tours, dinners, dance lessons, film screenings, an art show, a performance theater, bourrée lessons, and an authors and artisans fair. The great southern writer Ernest Gaines was there and read from his latest book which was awesome. It wasn’t possible to do everything, but we tried.

I wrote about the festival on my own blog and there was so much I had to split it into two posts.

And that didn’t allow us much time to take advantage of the other great tourist attractions in the area like the Tabasco Factory tour (we did that), Jungle Gardens (did that), Jefferson Island, the Conrad Rice Mill tour, and branching out from that, the surrounding communities are filled with history and things to see, like St. Martinville, St. Francisville, Loreauville, etc.  And yes, New Orleans is not that far away, nor is Baton Rouge.  Those places are already well-known for their tourist attractions.

But New Iberia has stolen my heart.  We hear a lot in this part of the country (I’m in northwest Louisiana) about southern hospitality, but New Iberia takes it to a new level.  New Iberia isn’t known for being a tourist town in the way Natchitoches is, for example.  But it should be.

Why? There was one point in the evening on our last night there that I decided that if I ever lost faith in humanity, or got frustrated with life, I just need to come to New Iberia because there is such a true joie de vivre in everyone’s face it makes you happy just to be there. It’s in their daily interactions, in their lives, it restores your faith in people. Plus, it’s just beautiful country.

Bayou Teche runs 135-miles through the area; ancient live oaks hug the banks and are literally dripping with Spanish moss.  The land is often flat and you see sugar cane fields, crawfish farms, and flooded rice fields.  The air smells like salt blowing in from the Gulf and the sky turns a bruised purple in the evening when the sun begins to sink into the west. We danced under the stars to cajun fiddle players and zydeco bands; we ate alligator, catfish, boudin, maque choux, etoufee, gumbo, and shrimp. What’s not to love?

We didn’t know one soul when we arrived and when we left I felt like I have a whole new cadre of friends.  One couple we met told us that when we come back we are more than welcome to stay with them. “We have an extra bedroom!” she said.  And she meant it.

Everyone we talked to, from the shopkeepers, convenience store clerks, waitresses, residents, everyone, truly engages with you when they talk to you.  It’s not just, “Oh how are you doing, glad you’re here,” kind a thing and move on.  They look you in the eye, listen to you, ask questions, engage.  They remember.  And they dance, they laugh, they love, they share wide open.

In the end, the book festival was just lagniappe to the true treasures of New Iberia.

If you’re planning to hit the road this spring or summer, consider a trip to south Louisiana.  New Iberia is easy to get to; it’s just south of Lafayette.  I know I’ll be back many, many times.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.  Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25.

George Bailey: If Potter gets a hold of this Building and Loan, there’ll never be another decent house built in this town. He’s already got charge of the bank. He’s got the bus line. He got the department stores, and now he’s after us. Why? Well, it’s very simple. Because we’re cuttin’ in on his business, that’s why. And because he wants to keep you livin’ in his slums and paying the kind of rent he decides.

It’s a Wonderful Life 1946

Brett Maverick:  You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time and those are very good odds.  My old pappy said that.

Maverick, Shady Deal at Sunny Acres 1958

Four days ago I talked about the differences between 2010 and 2018, Three days ago I spoke about how the MSM is launching a TET offensive against the GOP trying to scare them, today I’m going to offer a strategy for the GOP.

The real problem they are facing is one of media noise and short memories.  The tough times under Obama are over a year in the past and the worries of the economy that had been in the forefront of people’s minds and worries are gone, replaced by the noise generated by the MSM coverage of the investigations, the noise of the Stormy Daniels stuff and the noise of every single attack on the administration the GOP needs a message that not only cuts though the noise but reminds the people of the difference between the eight years of Obama Administration and the Trump administration.  This can be done by a simple theme summed up in three simple lines:

If you like your Tax Cut you can keep your Tax Cut

If you like your Bonus you can keep your Bonus

If you like your Job you can keep your Job

This is the perfect meme for several reasons:

Contrast:

In one stroke it contrasts the prosperity of the Trump years with the troubles of the Obama years.  It reminds them of the tax cuts and bonus’ that the Democrats called crumbs and of the manufacturing jobs that have come back that Obama and the Democrats insisted that we had to resign ourselves to losing.  It generates memories like the Jimmy Stewart Speech to stockholders in It’s a Wonderful Life:

Joe, you had one of those Potter houses, didn’t you? Well, have you forgotten? Have you forgotten what he charged you for that broken-down shack? Here, Ed. You know, you remember last year when things weren’t going so well, and you couldn’t make your payments. Well, you didn’t lose your house, did you? You think Potter would have let you keep it?

Clarity: 

This hopeful theme cuts though the noise in a format that shows the Democrat for what it is, a message based on generating unfounded panic for the sake of power.  Stewart again

Can’t you understand what’s happening here? Don’t you see what’s happening? Potter isn’t selling. Potter’s buying! And why? Because we’re panicky and he’s not. That’s why. He’s pickin’ up some bargains.

I suspect the Trump move in Syria, in contrast to Obama’s words without deeds provided some clarity, this argument would augment it.

Simplicity:

This is a simple message, that can be delivered by anyone, an incumbent running for re-election whose faced the voters many times, a  green newcomer running for office for the very first time.  Either one can deliver this line and make it stick.  Now picture it in the hands of a master communicator like President Trump who can deliver it before the cameras and the press, in speeches in front of tens of thousands and in tweets and re-tweets to be seen by millions completely bypassing the press and the left.

Initiative:

In one stroke this changes the argument both justifying the GOP control of the government while forcing the Democrats to justify risking the good economy for the sake of Trump hatred.  Do the Democrats deliver have an answer to a message of jobs, bonus’ and prosperity besides “Trump sucks”?

President Trump is the type of man who knows a winning message when he sees it.  He’s the type to pick up this banner and charge forward, the question is will GOP candidates have the wits and courage to ignore the MSM offensive and charge with him?

A final note, the:  “If you like your job you can keep your job” line was suggested by a reader.  The other two I derived from it.  I’m ashamed I didn’t think of it first.


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Finally might I suggest my book Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer makes an excellent Gift.