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Is St. Louis Southern?

With the warm sunshine and the dogwoods and redbuds blooming everywhere, St. Louis is giving off a southern vibe. I grew up in a small town in North Carolina and when I got married and moved to St. Louis, you would have thought I was moving to a foreign country called “The Midwest.” Southerners don’t understand why you would ever live anywhere other than south of the Mason-Dixon line! (Here is where I tell you, though, that I LOVE St. Louis).

The other day, I was reading an article in Southern Living titled “40 Things Every Southerner Ought to Do!” (For the record I’ve done 34 of those things). I was pleasantly surprised to see 3 must-dos are right here in St. Louis! # 21 Enjoy a frozen treat at Ted Drewes. #23 Go to the top of the Arch. #39 Stroll through the Missouri Botanical Garden. Does this mean Southern Living considers St. Louis part of the South? Did I actually never leave “home?”

Aside from the often disputed Missouri secession from the Union in 1861, I actually think there is some southern charm to St. Louis. People are so friendly. Lilly Pulitzer runs rampant in the summer. The houses in Webster Groves look like they could have been plucked from Mayberry (the fictional town in The Andy Griffith Show) with the wonderful front porches ready for some rocking chairs and glass bottled co-colas.  And we’re definitely not short on peonies, daylilies, hydrangeas and lilacs. Shoot…I have a 50 foot Southern Magnolia 10 feet from my front door! You should smell those blossoms in May. And did I mention that we finally have Chick-Fil-A?

Unfortunately (or fortunately in some opinions) that’s not enough to make St. Louis “officially” southern. Instead of kudzu we have honeysuckle. My kids’ friends (and actually my kids, too) think I’m a crazy mom for making my girls say “yes ma’am and no sir.” Where in the heck can I find sweet tea, fried okra, vinegar based barbeque, and hush puppies? (The Cracker Barrel doesn’t count). But most of all, St. Louis lacks that endearing Southern drawl. And the fact that when trying to get the attention of her older sisters, my 3 year old just hollered out “you guys” the other night instead of “y’all” is proof in the banana pudding that St. Louis is part of that country called “The Midwest!”

I would love to hear about the southern things you see in St. Louis. And for my southern friends, I ask the question, “What makes the South southern?”

Whether southern or not, one thing’s for sure. Mosquitoes LOVE calling St. Louis home. So if these annoying pests are ruining your good time, give us a call. As always, Mosquito Squad of Greater Saint Louis‘ mission is to help make your outdoor experiences wonderful.

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3 Responses to 'Is St. Louis Southern?'

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  1. Mary said,

    That is on of the best blogs I have read in a while “Miss Maa-tha” from NC! I love it! You inspire me to write more blogs and now I want to see St Louis-the porches sound so nice! I have a hard time finding good sweet tea in VA! Hardees has some….BTW.

  2. ummm..your BF said,

    1. My Mama and the she calls you “Motha”
    2. Bojangles
    3. Piggly Wiggly
    4. Wilbur’s BBQ
    5 Tomato Sandwiches
    6. Shrimp burgers with FRIED SHRIMP AND SLAW (the way the good lord meant for them to be served)
    7. Crepe Myrtles
    8. Do I really need to go on….
    9. While St.Louis is ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS…it ain’t the south, girl

  3. Ferguson said,

    Southern Magnolias aren’t confined to the south. They can be grown as far north as Indy, Columbus, as well as in Connecticut. The fact that we “finally” have Chick-fil-A and sweet tea…neither was here ten years ago that I can recall..i’m positive sweet tea was not…sweet tea is now north of the Mason Dixon line. As far as barbeque goes, St. Louis and Kansas City both can trace their barbeque roots to Memphis. So can Chicago. St. Louis is on the border between a humid continental and humid subtropical. Its winters are too cold and too snowy to be considered the south. Its summers, while extremely hot, are not unique to the Midwest. Omaha and Des Moines get extremely hot and humid as well. So does Kansas City, Indy, and Cincy. Finally, St. Louis benefited from the Great Migration…its history of heavy manufacturing, Catholicism, its large German and Italian population, its architecture, the speech patterns, its political leanings, etc., and its rust belt reputation are a sharp contrast to any place in the south. Missouri has been considered Midwestern since the late 1800s. To truly be in the south, you have to go further south than Cape Girardeau and Rolla.


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