Publisher’s View: An accent you can’t place

Ashley GordonBlueDress.vuI didn’t come by south Louisiana naturally. In fact, my people are not your people, if your people were born and raised down here—eating rice and gravy and bringing ice chests packed with beer to a wake. My parents hailed from north Louisiana, which is its own great state altogether. And that includes a lot of meat and potatoes, hose and heels, and the altar call with “Just as I Am” being sung by the choir. And, if I’m being completely honest, my dad is originally from Alabama by way of North Carolina and he carries an accent so deep and Southern that it can’t be traced to one region alone, even with Google Maps GPS.

But Baton Rouge, although located in south Louisiana, isn’t quite like the surrounding parishes either. In a way, it’s got its own accent. It’s a melding of politicians and professors, movers and shakers and Mardi Gras queens. It’s where entrepreneurs and debutantes and dancers and dreamers meld. It’s the Capital Region, and it draws out some of the very best and lures them here with promises of success and support then keeps them here with hospitality, community, faith and yes, football.

This month kicks off a yearlong celebration of the Baton Rouge Bicentennial, marking 200 years since the city was incorporated. At inRegister, we’re doing our part to honor the people and events that have made Baton Rouge the innovative, thriving community that it is today. Throughout the year, you’ll find a new monthly feature inside every issue of inRegister—as well as our sister publications 225 and Business Report—marking this important milestone. “Celebrating 200 Years of Baton Rouge” will highlight the most compelling—and sometimes entertaining—moments from the city’s colorful history.

In this first installment, you’ll discover which countries have governed the area over the years, when the state Legislature decided Baton Rouge should replace New Orleans as the state capital, how Essen and Siegen lanes got their names, and more.

A special thanks to our partners and sponsors ExxonMobil and Chase for bringing this special feature not only to our readers, but to the classroom as well. Later in the year, we’re providing free copies of “Celebrating 200 Years of Baton Rouge” to East Baton Rouge Parish students learning about Louisiana history.

In addition to that new monthly feature, inRegister will be spotlighting an old Baton Rouge photo in our Archives section at the back of the magazine. This page will feature some of the great characters and locales of yesteryear that have helped shape what our city is today. Writer Jeff Roedel is starting a new section called The Creatives that will appear monthly and highlight local craftsmen and makers who are under the radar but brimming with talent. And cookbook author Aimee Broussard starts her monthly feature Aimee’s Pretty Palate on our pages with recipes sure to please a variety of tastes.

It’s the variety of tastes and the melding of accents that makes this city special. We can’t be defined by one brand of bourbon, one church denomination or one recipe for jambalaya—if jambalaya even needs a recipe written down. And we are a determined lot who has faced high winds and road closures, political storms, social disturbances and a flood that shook us to our core and left no one untouched—and yet we put on our mud boots to rebuild and rebrand and rethink the future. But we stay in Baton Rouge. We always stay.

Because this city holds promises for all of us. It’s a place where you can find a friend in the crowd. It’s large enough to dream big and make those dreams happen, but small enough that a neighbor will bring over a casserole when your mother passes on. It’s a city with character and conviction, and its own version of crazy. And it’s mixed with a compassion that will bring strangers out in their own boats to save you, and your baby and your grandmother too. Baton Rouge has an accent that’s hard to define and impossible to lose. It’s worth celebrating all year long.

This month, inRegister’s weekly online newsletter Avenue Rouge is changing to inRegister@Home. It will still offer the same exceptional stories that spotlight local interior designers, boutique owners, events and sales, but it will be showcased in a brand new format that is more accessible and pleasing to the eye. This is the place to find out what’s hot and happening in the Baton Rouge area. Visit to get inRegister@home delivered directly to your inbox every Thursday.