I have been asked this question a lot. Sometimes I feel as though I should watch some YouTube videos of Cajuns talking and work on my accent (check out the original Swamp People, for example), but the truth is I really don’t have one.
Yet, there are other telltale signs that I grew up in the deep south.
For starters, “y’all” is part of my everyday vocabulary. I even text it without a second thought.
And other ways to identify a southerner:
I once had a phone interview and the interviewer said “Oh, you don’t have an accent but you do have a drawl.” She clarified, “You speak slow like my friend from Tennessee.” I don’t think she meant that as a compliment.
Also, I know how to pronounce jambalaya and boudin correctly (I’m talking to you, little miss Yankee waitress).
And it took me at least six months from getting to know Aly to remember that she, my closest friend, is a vegetarian and will never be tempted to try my burger, hot dog, sausage, steak, pork, chicken pâté, wings or beef cigars (whatever those are). I know vegetarians exist in southern Louisiana, it’s just hard to find them so it was a little tough to wrap my mind around electing to not eat meat. Thank God Aly likes seafood.
I also get excited every time I see Tabasco sauce (almost everywhere) or Abita beer (a lot more than you think) like these are the only good things to come out of Louisiana, which is obviously not true. I’ll gush about our football later.
Apparently I also say cement funny. It basically sounds like a dirty word when I say it. I’ve checked with friends from home and I’m not the only one. We say SEA-ment as opposed to suh-MENT. I can’t tell you how many conversations have been halted just so I can repeat my pronunciation.
But just for the record y’all, I’ve never owned a pet alligator–though a bunch of them do live on my undergrad campus.
Click here to hear Poo Poo Broussard’s accent. Or fall down the black hole of Cajun Smurf jokes. (If you can’t understand the people in any of these videos, don’t feel bad. This is why they have closed captioning on Swamp People.)