Let me just say, I am a proud Louisvillian! (Yes that is a real term, I did not just make that up.) After attending my first year of college, literally two hours away, just down the Ohio River, I met many people who have never been to Louisville or who ask what’s so special about it.
1. Pronunciation Of Louisville
This is everyone’s pet peeve in Louisville. I’m not joking. A fellow classmate in my English class fall semester said to me, “Wow, you actually said Louisville right.” (Face palm). It's not “Lou-EE-ville” or “Lou-IS-ville” or any other pronunciation. Say it with me: “Lou-UHH-vull”.
2. Basketball Country
Forget football, soccer, or ice hockey; basketball is the main game in Louisville. When I moved into college my freshman year, I immediately asked my suitemates if they were excited for basketball games. I got a response of blank stares, whereas my roommate and I are from Louisville and understand the importance of the game. In Evansville, everyone is hyped up about ice hockey. Let’s just say that I was in a bit of a culture shock.
3. U of L vs. UK
Continuing on from number 2, there are only two teams: the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky. Indiana University? Unless they’re playing UK, no one remembers them. Whenever I got to college and met someone else from the Louisville area, halfway during the introduction, the important question had to be asked: U of L or UK. The answer determined the friendship from that moment forward.
4. Hatred On Southern Indiana
Personally, I cannot say I hate Southern Indiana because I have been going to school there since the sixth grade, but I will say I hated it at first. I work at a movie theater, and we constantly get people trying to use gift cards that can only be used at theaters in Southern Indiana. I kindly explain that the closest one is 25 minutes away, just over the river. I get nasty looks and comments of just sending it to a family member who lives near a location for the gift card. That’s calm compared to the normal reactions.
5. Kentucky Derby
The most wonderful (and insane) time of the year: not Christmas, Derby week, the first Saturday in May, and the fastest two minutes in sports. You might be scratching your head and wondering what is so wonderful about people placing bets on horses while being dressed up and wearing hats, drinking mint juleps, and smoking cigars. But that’s the thing, it’s so much fun to experience all of it! There are activities held all during the week, schools are canceled on Oaks Day, which is the Friday before Derby and is the race for the lilies for the female horses. No one was excited for Derby week in Evansville, except for those of us who are from the Louisville area.
6. Thunder Over Louisville
If you’ve seen a fireworks show before, it was probably nothing compared to Thunder [over Louisville]. Literally, the largest fireworks show in the whole United States. Plus, it’s part of the festivities to kick off Derby season.
7. Tourist Attractions
From the museums in downtown, to Fourth street live, to The Louisville Zoo, there’s so much to do! I have had the privilege to work at The Louisville Zoo for two seasons, and I have met many tourists; usually I can tell who is a tourist because of number 1. As a Louisvillian, it’s so much fun getting to be a tourist in your own city.
If you have never had allergies before, you’re in for a rude awakening once you enter the Ohio Valley. There is pollen EVERYWHERE! Just pick up some allergy medicine before entering The Ville.
9. Walking Bridge
If you want something cheap and fun to do with family or friends, definitely go to the walking bridge. You can walk from Louisville over into Jeffersonville, Ind., and back. At night, talk about the most beautiful lights, but don’t walk alone!
10. Louisville Slugger
No matter what, there is ALWAYS a little Louisville Slugger in the home of a Louisvillian. Talk about a cool museum and factory where you get to see where one of the most used baseball bats ever is made. You cannot miss the museum: there’s a huge bat leaning up against the building. After a day at the museum and factory, go enjoy a Louisville Bats Baseball game and meet Buddy Bat. Don’t expect the Bats to win, because they never do (it’s surprising when they do), but we typically don’t care either way. We’re basketball people first and foremost, and it’s just fun to (act like we're) watching a game while hanging out with friends and family.
11. Kentucky State Fair
I have been to the fair every year except for the past two years. My meal every time, no matter what, is a corn dog and a twist cone, plain and simple. There are so many concerts, both free and ones to pay for. My dad and I love taking pictures throughout the year and picking one or two of our favorites to enter into the fair. It’s just so much fun to experience all of Kentucky within Louisville.
12. Heine Brothers' Coffee
Starbucks is great and all, but can’t hold a candle to Heine Brothers' Coffee in Louisville. The best coffee in the area, just ask any hipster (they make up about half of the population of Louisville). I honestly like both Heine Brothers' Coffee and Starbucks: it's coffee. But when I'm home from college, I love a warm cup of Heine Brothers'.
13. Taylor Swift's Baby Announcement For Local Radio Broadcaster
I'm sure we all remember when Taylor Swift recently helped announce the exciting news for Jesse and Lindsey Rasmussen that they are expecting their first baby. Jesse and Lindsey kindly asked Taylor to help make the big announcement at her 1989 tour concert in Louisville on June 2. Jesse is a morning show co-host on 102.3 The Max Louisville and helped cause quite a stir in national news. I have had the privilege of job shadowing Jesse and worked on a video project about him my senior year in high school for my Radio/TV class. I learned he's full of surprises, but this came out of nowhere!
14. Kentucky Jokes
Talk about offensive! On campus, I am involved with our triple threat radio station. Everyone is from Indiana except for our Program Director and myself, and we get jokes cracked at us left and right. I simply say, “I’m from Louisville; at least it’s a city where we wear shoes and a shirt. We have standards.”
15. The Arts Scene
Not everyone is madly in love with the arts, but in The Ville, it is a must to at least see a play at Actor’s Theatre of Louisville or visit the Kentucky Center of the Arts, or even the Speed Art Museum. I am no artist, but I did my share of 11 years of acting. I have performed at the Kentucky Center of the Arts several times and Actor’s Theatre of Louisville three times, and stage managed a play about an artist at the Speed Art Museum. Plus, who else can say they went to the same youth conservatory as Jennifer Lawrence? Me! Yes, I met her 10 years ago when we were at theater classes; no, we were not super close.
16. Famous People Come From Louisville
I just mentioned Katniss Everdeen, played by Louisville’s sweetheart, Jennifer Lawrence, but we also have other famous people, like Diane Sawyer from ABC World News and Muhammad Ali. This is Louisville, not Los Angeles.
17. Bridge Traffic
You have not experienced traffic unless it’s involving three bridges connecting Louisville to Southern Indiana, especially now that there is construction of a fourth bridge. It gets chaotic! Whenever there is a concert, people are excited but frustrated because if you have to cross a bridge, add at least an hour onto your arrival time.
Now that you have studied some of the important aspects of Louisville, you won't feel lost when a local is talking about Derby or bridge traffic. Go ahead and take a weekend vacation in Louisville and see for yourself! And remember: if anything happens, just remember number 1: "Lou-UHH-vull." You might get some brownie points if you say it properly.