Things I learned in Louisiana

I just returned home from a women’s conference in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I was doubly excited about this trip because in addition to getting to hear some great speakers, I knew I’d also get to see a part of the country that I’ve never been to before. Of course, before I left some of my friends felt obligated to tell me about the giant spiders and cock roaches that flourish in the southern humidity. Thankfully, I didn’t see any creepy crawly creatures. But, there were a couple of things I noticed that you might find intriguing if you’ve never been to that part of this great land.

When I first get off of a plane I immediately look for the closest women’s room. Not because they fascinate me so much but because you never know when the next one will avail itself to you. I was a Girl Scout. I like to “be prepared.” Anyway, the New Orleans airport has a most interesting contraption in their restrooms. The seats of the toilets are covered in plastic. When I first saw it I thought, “Hmmm…that toilet must be out of order,” so I proceeded to the next stall, only to find the same situation. Once I gave a brief glance at the directions I realized that, at the wave of your hand, this plastic cover is designed to rotate around the toilet seat to provide an always fresh and sanitary spot for you to sit, thereby eliminating the need to fight with the tissue paper covers which have become a treasured part of every woman’s public restroom experience. I must admit, I was a bit skeptical at first. How did I know for sure that this plastic was not just circling its way around and around the seat, never really producing a clean product? Before leaving today I had the opportunity to read the ad in the stall describing how it all works. It’s complicated to explain but try to picture a spool of plastic with the open end wrapped over the back left side of the toilet seat, pulled around the seat to the right side and threaded onto another spool which will eventually become the throw away section when the clean side is empty. Kind of cool, but I think it’ll take a little getting used to. It’s these little things in life that fascinate me and provide me with ways to keep you totally guessing what I will possibly write about next on this blog. I’m just so sorry I forgot to take a picture for you!

The other thing that I found interesting in Louisiana was the number of Fleur-de-lis I saw. They reminded me very much of the Boy Scout symbol so I was kind of confused to find them everywhere. I saw them on bumper stickers forming the letter I in the word “faith,” I saw them on car windows, on necklaces, in boutiques, everywhere. Finally, when I saw it on a necklace of one of the conference hosts I just had to ask about its significance and why I was seeing these things all over the city. Here is where my lack of knowledge regarding the area becomes VERY apparent. While I knew that New Orleans had a French quarter, I hadn’t really considered the fact that it’s because a lot of French people live there. Apparently, the Fleur-de-lis symbol is big for the French and, for most Christians (at least the French ones), it represents the Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then, after Hurricane Katrina it became a symbol for all of Louisiana that New Orleans would be restored. Well, the people of Louisiana have one thing straight. It will require the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to restore not just the people of New Orleans, but people all over the world.

The things I learned from the conference I will save for another day. It’s probably more interesting than the toilet covers and the Fleur-de-lis, and certainly more inspiring.

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