A woman complained recently within earshot about a new, nationally known store whose service fell short of expectations. She’d called the manager, who explained the offending employee was just visiting and the unfortunate scenario would likely not recur. Unmoved, the lady replied, “Well, she needs to learn how to visit in Cajun country.”

The woman was right.

South of I-10 is a separate nation with its own culture and its citizens expect a certain amount of Old South gentility mixed with who’s your mama. They don’t take a lack of manners kindly and are unforgiving of outsiders landing without them. So, if you’re traveling anywhere west of Baton Rouge, there are ways to make a good impression.

Leave the aloofness at home. You’re expected to respect the old ladies, be nice to the dogs and make a certain amount of friendly conversation. One of this region’s finest traditions is party talk. Men are expected to make party talk, and women are expected to talk back. Party talk is one part harmless flirtation mixed with two parts humor, not to be taken seriously but you do have to keep up. Laissez les bons temps roulez means exactly that, and you throw a wrench in the works if you can’t roll. “You must’ve been to beauty school because you sure look good” is meant as an introduction, not seduction.

Gentlemen, if you’re from out of state, one of the great things about South Louisiana is you can approach the women. Just remember it’s more than likely just party talk and like a party, it’s entertaining in the moment but never meant to last.

And we incarcerate more men per capita than any place on earth.

Patricia Gannon covers society for The Acadiana Advocate. She can be reached at pgannon@cmaildrop.com or at pgannon@theadvocate.com.

Attakapas holds ball

The oldest women’s krewe is Lafayette held its 47th sacred Mardi Gras ceremony at the Frem Boustany Convention Center. The venerable ladies of Attakapas celebrated “Night of the Kachina” amid whoops and stomps while revelers packed the premises. This is a highly secret society, but out in the open were 2014 King Lacassine XLVI Patrick Dennis McCarthy and Kaliste Saloom III; Randol’s restaurant dynasty Frank, Beau and Rusty Randol; past King Ed Abell et famille, Robert and Carrie Foard and Matt Hill. What we loved: The Attakapas hospitality and that Ronnie Foreman’s Mardi Gras vest was hand-painted by George Rodrigue himself. Sorry, but that pretty much trumps everyone else.

Victoria holds Ball n’ Brunch

The Krewe of Victoria partied through the night at the Cajundome Convention Center and into the next day at the Petroleum Club. These ladies don’t tire easily, including Lynn Crochet, Beth Guilbeaux, Her Majesty Sue Lein, Mary Romagosa, Mitu Dasgupta, Sue Sewall, Marie Reinhardt and honoree Ann Knight. By the way, if we’d known the brunch was cowboy boots, we’d have worn our Lucchese — and a sidearm.

Lafayette education foundation fetes teachers

It was a dark and stormy night as LEF held its 17th annual Teacher Awards ceremony at Frem F. Boustany Convention Center. The umbrellas were up, but no one’s spirits dampened as the community turned out to celebrate those who inspire its children. Out of 600 teachers receiving the nomination, four rose to the top — Kimberly Kidder, Michelle Lakhotia, Simone McCrocklin and Melissa Welch — while among those witnessing excellence were Assistant Superintendent Sandra Billeaudeau, Erin May, man-about-town Joey Moss, Donna Bright, Dr. David Fisher Sr. and Scott and Lizzie Stewart. “We came to celebrate,” said Ms. Stewart, Lafayette High’s Teacher of the Year. “A lot of our friends are here.”