Often times, Southerners, especially those of us South of I 10, are made out to be not as socially advanced as those up North...well this is a story about the people from a place we proudly call Acadiana.

I've been a broadcaster in the Lafayette market for over 25 years.  And an honor it has been, and quite the ride I must admit.  The money is a little better now than when I was struggling to make a name for myself in the early years, but that's certainly not the reason for staying here.  It has always been because of my fellow Acadians.

The people in this neck of the world are the reason we continue to show growth in population and tax revenue in a time when other parts of the United States are crumbling.  So why is this happening?  Why is Acadiana it's own little oasis?  What makes it so attractive to others, so much so they want to live here?  And what makes many who can't wait to leave almost always come back?

It's because we are a caring group of people who for the most part still believe in God, love our families and enjoy great food, music and friends.  For you folks who may be reading this from outside our area, where you live might just be a little prettier, you may have less smokers, and your children may have higher SAT scores than ours but down here we have something that you can't buy or learn from a book.  You see, down South, we will give a stranger the shirt off our backs if he needs one before we even get his name.  When someone moves into the neighborhood we still walk over with something fresh out of the oven to welcome them.  Police officers still have our respect.  We still cry at weddings.  We give hugs, lots and lots of hugs.  We overeat and if you were here you would too.  We have our own music, made and produced locally without any additives by local musicians that win Grammys for their talents.  We still say "Thank You" and "Yes Ma'am."  We think Wal-Mart is a mess too.  Our politicians are a joke just like yours and we, like you, believe we deserve better.  We worry about our kids.  We like nice things and run up our Visa's just like folks up North.  Most of us do have a whole set of permanent teeth.  We will party at the drop of a hat and someone always has a hat.  We say "I'm Sorry" when we get it wrong.  Our kids still ride their bikes.  We like New Orleans too.  And to steal a line from an old Meryl Haggard song, "We still wave ole glory down at the courthouse."

Acadiana is a very special place.  A unique place.  But grass, buildings and a few oak trees don't make a home.  It's the people who walk on this grass, live and work in these buildings and take comfort from 100 degree heat under a beautiful oak, that's what makes Acadiana so special, it's people.

So the next time there's a national survey, and we are at the bottom of every good list and at the top of every bad list, it won't worry us much.  You see, because what we have down here...can't be put on paper.

Remember to tell your parents you love 'um and always be happy!