If you're a native Louisianian, I've got news for you: You're a weirdo.

You probably don't realize it, but trust me — you're weird.

I've had the distinct misfortune of living out of state twice — Fort Worth, Texas, for six months and Lakeland, Fla., for 18 months — and I always felt like a fish out of water. I have some fond remembrances of both towns, but all in all, there's truly no place like the Bayou State.

We do things very differently than citizens of other towns, cities and states, and that's why it's so tough for Louisianians to leave. I'd bet at least 50 percent of the residents of cities like Atlanta, Dallas and Raleigh, N.C., are not natives of those cities. But probably a full 80 percent of the residents of New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette and Monroe were born within 10 miles of where they currently reside.

A Dallas resident would fit in fine in a city like Atlanta. But a New Orleanian? He'd get laughed right out of Dixie the first time he ordered a shrimp po-boy or inquired at his local seafood market about how the crabs were running.

Still, that doesn't mean we do everything well. Our laissez les bon temps roullez attitude spills over into areas where it would be better for us to be higher strung than a trapeze artist.

But all in all, I'll take the bad with the good.

Only in Louisiana ... could an angler realistically, and without a ridiculous amount of effort, catch a blue marlin, bull redfish, speckled trout, flounder, largemouth bass and bream all the same day.

Only in Louisiana ... could a gaping, festering wound like the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet be allowed to stay open for 40 years.

Only in Louisiana ... could a hunter be disappointed if he shoots fewer than 100 ducks in a season.

Only in Louisiana ... could someone get fat just from the wonderful aroma of most restaurants.

Only in Louisiana ... could landowners, with the full backing of the courts, block off access to tidal waters that belong to the public.

Only in Louisiana ... could great festivals be held in honor of a glorified insect that lives in ditches and eats detritus and refuse.

Only in Louisiana ... can you buy true Becnel's Creole tomatoes, grown in the rich soils along the banks of the Mississippi River.

Only in Louisiana ... would the citizens not riot over the loss of 25 square miles of our coast every year, which places our lifestyle, culture and heritage in imminent danger of being destroyed forever.

Only in Louisiana ... could wave after wave of weekend anglers catch innumerable trophy trout on a lake the size of Calcasieu.

Only in Louisiana ... could a sportsman shoot his limit of ducks and catch his limit of specks, all before lunchtime.

Only in Louisiana ... could there exist a place as jaw-droppingly beautiful as the Atchafalaya Basin.

Only in Louisiana ... could certain types of fish and game have names like sac-a-lait, choupique, green trout, dos gris and poisson rouge.

I love this place!