“The Angry Tiger” is a nickname I received after moving to Austin to work for a magazine in hopes of leaving behind all of the things I felt like were plaguing me when I still lived in Baton Rouge like backwoods thinking, corrupt politics, a lack of tolerance and progressivism and worst of all terrible, terrible men.
Here in Austin, I work for the city’s top publication, Austin Monthly, a high-gloss, 200-page resource of unreproducible information about everything cool, exciting and noteworthy in the area. My eagerness to leave my home in search of this greener pasture had everything to do with this magazine that showed me how what is going on in this city that is so different than the one in which I’d grown up. The people, the vibe, the opportunity, the progressive thinking, the technology, the events, the music, the food and I could go on and on and on. To that note, Austin is a beautiful place that offers all of these things and it does attract many newcomers each year who want a piece of this life. So it should come as no shock that the office where I work would be filled with some of the most creatively talented individuals I know from all across the United States.
When I first moved, I was so enthralled by everyone and everything, I felt humbled just to be a part of it. Going out on a boat on Lake Austin certainly trumped my experience going out on Lake Tangipahoa and the Ponchartrain. Driving through the hills of Austin and being able to clearly see every star in the sky was amazing considering in the past I would have to drive to Mississippi with my dad to really even see any. Going out to Zilker Park and seeing all of the wildlife around Lady Bird Lake was breathtaking, almost like the feeling you get when you are driving up South Congress into downtown at night and viewing Austin’s gorgeous skyline.
However, as football season slowly crept up, so did the “Louisiana” lying dormant inside of me. Growing up in a town of folks who are known to “bleed purple and gold,” I think I just assumed that everyone is equally as passionate about their college team as I am, and that a little friendly banter would be well-received in a fellow college football town. I even expected the “college town fever” would take hold of me and I would spend a portion of my weekends cheering for the Horns. However, by the time the number one ranked LSU Tigers had a few games under their belt, it took everything in me not to drive home every weekend just to be a part of the history that was taking place in my hometown and I was becoming more and more ruthless about any other team.
Throughout the course of football season, I went from boasting about my precious Tigers, to boasting about the entire state of Louisiana: the food, the culture, even the swamps and the dirtiness of Bourbon Street that now have some kind of allure I certainly did not appreciate when I lived there. My best friend and partner in crime, Madeline, who so lovingly embraced me when I first came to Austin was annoyed by October. She would always say to me, “I don’t understand you. All you talk about is how much you can’t wait for your visits to Louisiana, and when you get there, you can’t wait to get back to Austin. What’s the deal? Louisiana is not so awesome after all?”
To make a long story short, it’s almost been a year since I moved and the things I have learned are innumerable. It took me a long time to figure out why I would go on these “angry” rants about how amazing Louisiana is, but then have no present desire to move back. What I have realized though, is that I am an angry tiger because I am passionate about my state. I love LSU football, the colors purple and gold, the fact that I grew up knowing how to say the names Hebert, Boudreaux and Bergeron and the street names Dalrymple and Tchoupitoulas. I’m passionate about boiled crawfish, jambalaya, gumbo, étouffée and Chimes cheese fries and the fact that I grew up conditioned to snakes, gators and mosquitos living amongst us in Louisiana’s exquisite wetlands.
Ultimately, I came to understand that although my personal journey has taken me away from my home for the time being, Louisiana does have my heart, which has officially earned me the title in Texas as the “Angry Tiger,” but so be it…
You can take the girl out of Louisiana, but you can’t take the Louisiana out of her and on that note I say, GEAUX TIGERS RANKED NUMBER ONE ALREADY FOR 2012! SEE YOU ALL IN MIAMI, JANUARY 7, 2013! And I’m mad if you think it’ll be any different! ;)