Louisiana License Plates: Exclusionary or Shortsighted?

Louisiana- the state- put  “Sportsman’s Paradise” on the license plate it sold me for my car. I have a question for my current home state. Was the intent of the state employees who selected this phrase intended to exclude sportswomen? Or was selecting it simply shortsighted? Comment anyone?

26 responses

26 09 2010
Durwood Hawkins

Betty- I travel a lot and I see lots of phrases on license plates. But I have never considered “who” or “shy” such phrases were chosen. Surely the Louisiana employees who chose the phrase on your license plate didn’t intend to exclude women. Could it be that the Louisiana employees just keep using a phrase chosen long ago without thought about cultural changes? I’ll check back to see if anyone else comments on this. -Durwood

26 09 2010
bettytraxlereppes

Durwood- Thanks for reading my blog post and for your comment. I, too, am curious as to whether others will post comments.

26 09 2010
Wm. Schulenberg

Betty-I believe that the phrase Sportsman’s Paradise has been in use for so long that few people give it any thought. I suspect there was no intent by the one who placed it on the license plates to exclude sportswomen. It was likely a male who has no sportswomen in his life (pity!). Perhaps a letter-writing campaign will alert the DMV to the need for a new slogan.

26 09 2010
bettytraxlereppes

Bill- Thanks for the comment. How long have you lived in BR and was the current slogan around when you arrived? I’m not a good organizer, so I’ll just accept that the slogan is the slogan. Thanks again for the comment. -Betty

27 09 2010
Wm. Schulenberg

Betty- I moved to Louisiana as part of a job promotion (? !) in late 1962. The Google site I saw states it has been Sportsman’s (or Sportsmen’s) Paradise since 1958. See: http://www.15q.net/la.html/ I suspect that all the sports-women reside in New Orleans or Shreveport. Reports are that Gov. Bobby Jindal is a Christian so he has little or no knowledge of the topic. -BILL

27 09 2010
bettytraxlereppes

Bill- Wow. You moved to Louisiana long before I did. I moved to Baton Rouge in January 1976. Obviously, few people- including most women- if any care that the slogan on state license plates is exclusionary. Thanks for the comment. -Betty

27 09 2010
Anderson "Sulli" Sullivan

Betty- I can’t believe this. Ar you, I hope, a person who is about my age and who attended Burns School? The slogan on your Louisiana license plate is exclusionary, without question. That makes it ridiculously silly. But, as “Bill” pointed out, it was chosen the year I graduated from high school. No one thought it odd to exclude women back then. In fact, the majority of southerners alive in those days thought it was perfectly normal to exclude women from most anything of importance. The world has changed but, the state of Louisiana not so much. If you are the person I once knew, as I’m hoping your are, I’d love to hear from you. -Sulli

27 09 2010
bettytraxlereppes

Anderson “Sulli” Sullivan, good morning. If you were born in 1940, as I assume since that is part of your email address, then I am your age. And I did attend Burns School. You were not, I think, a student at Burns. Your name seems very familiar. Were you called “Andy” when we might have known each other? Your assessment that the slogan on my license plate is exclusionary is, I think, correct. I feel acute annoyance every time I get a glimpse of my license plate. And, now that I’ve become of aware of the slogan, I also feel annoyed when I see it on other cars. Emotional response is odd, isn’t it? -Betty

27 09 2010
Anderson "Sulli" Sullivan

Betty- We’re the same age. I attended Mize School and was called Andy back then. My first boss dubbed me Sulli- short for Sullivan- and it stuck. I sometimes stopped, with my father, at your parents’ store in Trenton. You were often the one tending the store- and post office- and though I was shy, I did get my nerve up to talk to you after about the third time my dad and I stopped. I even asked you for a date in August of 1956. You were still wearing a couple of casts because of injuries from, I think, a car accident. Your parents wouldn’t permit you to go out with me because your family didn’t know mine. Then, years later, I bumped into your brother, Joe, at Fort Hood Military base. He and I were the same age and we were at Hood at the same time. I learned from him that you’d run off to New York City. Now you’re in Louisiana. Life’s twists and turns surprise me. And, yes, emotional response is odd. I’m delighted over stumbling across your post here on wordpress. I’d like to keep in touch. -Sulli

27 09 2010
bettytraxlereppes

Sulli- All this is odder than odd. Your comment took me back along memory lane. I remember asking my parents if I could go out with you AND their answer. I do remember that you were shy and handsome enough that I really wanted to go on that date with you. You bumping into Joe at Fort Hood is amazing. I did go to New York City, and then lived there for about half a year- which was enough for me at that time. Later in life, after I’d gained a bit of success and had more money, I loved making visits to the city of cities but never had any desire to live there. I moved back from Costa Rica late last year and am settled into the small community called Prairieville, which seems like the southern edge of Baton Rouge. I am happy to correspond with you. -Betty

27 09 2010
Anderson "Sulli" Sullivan

Betty-

It’s all even odder than that! Even after all these years, I’m delighted you remember me asking you out and even more delighted to learn you really wanted to go out with me. Ego, perhaps?

Joe and I spent quite a bit of time together. He’d married and his wife didn’t like him hanging around us single guys. But she didn’t mind me going over to their place, which I did quite a few times. Joe and I grilled everything we could lay hand to and then ate all of it. His wife, Angle, if my memory serves, wanted not one bite of what we cooked out on their primitive little grill. Joe and I had a good time. Even though we were only in Texas, that- back then- seemed a very long way from home.

when Joe told me you’d gone off to New York, I was amazed. I’m sure I knew something about that city but I was just thinking that you must have not been 18 when you went off to live there. Joe told me about it when he and I were 20 and you’d already come back home. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have had the nerve to do that even at 30 and certainly not at 17. I’d like to hear the story of how you decided to do that. It must be something.

As I think back, you were always writing in a notebook when my dad and I would go into the store- that is, if you had no customers. That really, really impressed me. I wrote a few things for my school’s student newspaper and I have to tell you, I was very curious about what you might be writing.

Okay. You were born in Mississippi, went off to live in New York City at 17, but then returned to Mississippi at 18 or so. Did you go from Mississippi to Louisiana? And how did you choose Prairieville? I know New Orleans pretty well but don’t know much about Baton Rouge and your mention of Prairieville is the first I’ve ever heard about it.

Since I’ve asked about where you live, it seems only correct to tell you that I live in California. San Diego. And though it is beautiful here, this is not my most favorite place on earth. I definitely am not a California guy.

Sulli

27 09 2010
bettytraxlereppes

Sulli-

Ego? I don’t know but I do know my feelings when I realized who you are remain very close to what they were back in 1956. I have this idea, which is that we are pretty much the same person when we go into the embalming chamber that we were when we came out of the delivery room.

Sulli, your stories about Joe and particularly poignant. He died in 2003. It’s wonderful to hear that the two of you enjoyed time together. Joe did love grilling food and eating it. Angel didn’t care much for any of Joe’s family, including me. Joe and she had two children and their divorce was so volatile, he lost contact with his kids. Marty, their son, stayed in touch until he was about twelve. Though I’ve searched and searched, I cannot find Marty of his sister. Thank you for telling me your sotries about my brother, to whom I was very close.

The story about my journey to NYC is too complicated and long to tell here. I went there at 17 and returned home before my 1th birthday. It was an incredible juorey and here’s another oddity for you. I went to Fort Hood, Texas, when I left New York. I worked there for eight weeks. Then I developed pneumonia and went back to my parents’ home. Because my mom was postmaster, I snuck peeks at lots of magazines and knew an awful lot about the world by the time I became a teenager. My curiosity about the world and other cultures, I traveled a lot.

Even before I started to school, I’d grab my older siblings’ notebooks and pencils at every opportunity. An assignment in 3rd grade led my teacher to write on it that I had natural writing talent. I decided then that I was born to be a writer. I worked in many areas and field but in my heart of hearts, I was always a writer.

Sulli, I’ve lived in lots of places, including in Costa Rica from May of 1999 until the end of last year. I decided to move to Prairieville because my son and his wife live here. I lived in Baton Rouge from January 1976 through October of 1990 so, this area is very familiar to me. South Louisiana is not a bad place to live- except from 1 April through 15 September! The awful heat of summer broke her just last night and I am soooooo happy about that. The climate on the mountainside where I lived in CR enjoyed nearly perfect climate. I miss it, but coming back to the US last year was the wise thing to do.

San Diego. It is beautiful.

Betty

27 09 2010
Anderson "Sulli" Sullivan

Betty- whoa! After I wrote the last comment, I scrolled back through our blog entries. I hardly know what to ask about first. I’ll spent more time reading your posts and then, I asure you, I’ll have lots of questions. I hope you won’t think me a pest.

Did the Hawkins guy left comments also go to Burns? I sued to go to all the basketball games in Smith Count that I could and his name seems familiar. That photo of him looks like its from school days and he looks very, very familiar.

Sulli

27 09 2010
bettytraxlereppes

Sulli- Whoa? Background does show itself sometimes doesn’t it? Ask all the questions you like. It’s wonderful to reminisce with you. Durwood Hawkins was in my class at Burns. The photo of him was taken, I think, on the class trip. He did play basketball. -Betty

29 09 2010
Durwood Hawkins

Betty- The comments about schooldays and basketball take me back. After reading the comments by Anderson Sullivan who was called Andy back then, I think I remember him. His dad was what we’d called an entrepreneur today and Andy/Sulli worked with him. I do remember that guy. So, Andy/Sulli, what do you do out in San Diego? -Durwood

29 09 2010
bettytraxlereppes

Durwood-
Though few of us knew it back then, they were good times. I find it oddly fascinating that a man I knew in high school sees something I’ve written on the internet, leaves a comment, which you then see, and it turns out we all are connected by school-day memories. Connections. Thanks for your comment
Betty

30 09 2010
Anderson Sullivan

Durwood-

I saw the photo of you when you were a student at Burns and recognized you. You were as big a fan of basketball back then as I was. And I’d see you in Raleigh on week-ends back then, too. You congratulated me when my watermelon won top prize at the State Fair in 1987 and that really made an impression on me because you were the only person to do that who was not from Mize.

Right now, I’m organizing- throwing away, mostly- things in preparation for a move back to Smith County. I’m retired and am never did feel totally at home out here. So, I’m getting my things in order and will be moving by end of year.

What about you? Were do you live now? And what you keeps you busy at our age?

Sulli

27 09 2010
Anderson "Sulli" Sullivan

Betty- Here’s my first question? Do you drive a Prius? The emblem in the photo with your license indicates you do. -Sulli

27 09 2010
bettytraxlereppes

Sulli- I do drive a Prius. I, like a lot of other Americans, used to drive cars without giving a thought to the impact being made on the environment or where the US got the oil used to produce the fuel for them. I decided when I moved back to the US from Costa Rica last year to give a care for planet Earth. I worried that I’d absolutely hate driving a little car. Don’t. I absolutely love my Prius! -Betty

28 09 2010
Anderson "Sulli" Sullivan

Betty-

You drive a Prius and are happy with it. Interesting. In life, “not thinking” about issues broader than personal life and its demands of the moment should be avoided. But that’s tough. It’s interesting that you chose a Prius. The car does have a good reputation. And after Toyota addressed the issue with the braking system I’ve seen nothing else negative. Satisfaction is the major factor of car ownership.

What led you to move to Costa Rica?

Sulli

29 09 2010
bettytraxlereppes

Sulli- Because of family heritage, I’d believed that I’d work hard, save, invest, and then live in Germany after retirement so I could research my Traxler roots. I lived in Germany and found it, among other things, too cold. Costa Rica, with its near-perfect climate was just right. I loved living there. Now, I’m back in Louisiana and like the first time I moved to the Baton Rouge area, I’m feeling at home. -Betty

28 09 2010
Peggy LeBlanc-Lewis

I was born in Louisiana and as long as I can remember the license plate has been Sportsman’s Paradise. I think it was thought of so long ago that women were very rare in the hunting arena and no one as thought to correct it. It definitely fits the description of our state because of all the wildlife that can found around Louisiana. I am proud of the state that I live in and hope we can keep it the PARADISE it should be.

29 09 2010
bettytraxlereppes

Peggy- Thank you for your comment. Louisiana does have places beautiful enough to be correctly called a paradise. Would it not be better for the state if its motto was something more inclusive, such as “Sports Paradise?” Do you agree that given the current economy, it seems good policy to be as inclusive as possible with something as visible as the state slogan on license plates?

30 09 2010
Anderson Sullivan

Durwood-

In my answer to your comment, I mistakenly wrote “1987” instead of 1957. I hadn’t been in a watermelon field in 1987. Senility, do you think?

Sulli

30 09 2010
bettytraxlereppes

Sulli-
If a typo signified senility, then a huge percentage of those using the Internet– including me- have it. I’ve noticed you write comments rather early and assume this means you too are an early riser. Background, again?
Betty

Betty

30 09 2010
Anderson Sullivan

Betty-
Your comment is a bull’s eye. My tie to writing/production makes me freaky re typos. I’m out of that now and into those “golden years” so I need to get over myself.

Even though I chose a different path, I recognized the value of the farmer’s habit of rising early and continued the habit. So, yes, background again.
Sulli

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