My BBC column about the eccentric and wonderful Louisiana parish in which I live is now on the BBC site – and please check out the lovely three-minute video that accompanies it. Ronnie Morgan is my mom and dad’s neighbor, and a very old friend of my family — and one of the most fun people you could ever hope to know. As you can see. In my forthcoming book, I describe him as a cross between Jimmy Buffett and Hunter S. Thompson.
Meanwhile, did you know that my parish was part of the West Florida Republic, an independent nation for 74 days, until the rotten American imperialist Madison sent in the troops to take us over? As I write:
Naturally, I am caucusing with latter-day adventurers in these parts to mount a Crusade for West Floridian Dignity when West Florida Independence Day rolls around this fall.
If we, the sons and daughters of noble Skipwith, cannot have our independence back, then we deserve reparations. The tyrant Obama must hear the voice of justice and humanity. It’s saying, “Send beer, podna, and all will be forgiven!”
Alas, time has largely tamed us West Floridians, who count ourselves as patriotic Americans.
So why does one see more Bonnie Blue flags flying from front porches all over St Francisville these days? It probably has to do with a rediscovered pride in long-forgotten local history, and a sense of particularity worth celebrating amid an ever-homogenising culture of 21st Century America.
We may be Tories to the marrow, but we are eccentrics to our fingertips. We are churchgoers and reliable Republicans, and we love that a local drag queen has a float in the town Christmas parade.
In the end, a merry rebellion against the boring hegemony of strip-mall America may be the best thing we can offer the nation that devoured us. In the imaginative sense, we West Floridians still have a fine republic, if we can keep it weird.
Read the whole thing. And come see us. You wouldn’t believe the parties Ronnie has at that camp.