I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m getting pretty tired of sites like WalletHub putting out list after list ranking Louisiana as the worst state in pretty much every category they’ve ever invented. I’m not sure why a self-proclaimed “personal finance website” even generates all these lists in the first place, but they do. Constantly.

One of their latest supposedly ranks “The Most Fun States in America” according to dubious data including, but not limited to: most fitness centers per capita, most golf courses and country clubs per capita, and my personal favorite, the most snow skiing facilities per capita.

I’m not sure how they calculated all the southern states that have zero skiing facilities because the closest thing we get to snow around here is the icy build-up in the tiny freezer inside our office mini-fridge, but whatever. Their lists are bonkers, anyway.

Which is why I decided to make my own Best States in America list using more important scientific data than WalletHub considers when building theirs. However, since I’m not really interested in generating Yet Another Internet Listicle™, I’m just gonna assign points to various categories and, should a state manage to score a full 100, I can confidently declare it the best and just ignore all the losers.

Spoiler Alert: I’m going to go ahead and ruin the surprise up front and let you know that Louisiana took the #1 spot.

It’s not hard to see why, either. Just consider the following data I used when performing all the sophisticated mathematical calculations necessary when attempting such a monumental undertaking.

The first metric I used was the number of gators per capita. A lot of people might think Florida has the most gators, but a lot of people are deeply stupid and we’d all be better off ignoring everything they say anyway. Besides, according to the 2005 Scholastic Book of World Records, Louisiana has the largest alligator population in the nation. So that’s, like, pretty official.

Two points to Louisiana!

An alligator in Lake Charles, La.
Big Boy Chill

Moving on, we have to consider the availability of crawfish on a state-by-state basis if we’re going to have an accurate picture of which one is the best. Crawfish can actually be found in several states, but since those places tend to call them crawdads or crayfish, we can dismiss them immediately because they’re clearly wrong about everything. With more than 800 commercial fishermen harvesting mudbugs here, Louisiana is, by far, the largest producer of crawfish in the United States.

Twenty-three points to Louisiana!

Close Up Photo of Crawfish Boil

If we want to factor fun into this equation, we need to consider how many festivals are going on at any given time throughout the year. To do this, we first need to take into account how many days there are in each year, which everyone has pretty much agreed on (which is also pretty much the only thing everyone in today’s world can agree on): 365. When you add up the number of festivals in Louisiana and divide by that, you get…a really small number. But that’s a good thing because there are exactly 1,437 festivals that take place throughout the state over the course of a year (no need to check on that number, it’s Science), which means there are an average of 3.9 festivals/parties/get-togethers going on each day in Louisiana. There’d probably be an even four, but I think the missing tenth probably has to do with getting stuck in traffic in Baton Rouge.

Nine points to Louisiana!

New Orleans Celebrates Mardi Gras
Getty Images

The next metric was pretty easy to calculate and is kind of self-evident, so I won’t go into all the boring statistical details behind it. It all came down to a simple question: Can you get a decent bowl of gumbo? The answer for every state other than Louisiana was a clear and decisive, “Hell nah, sha!”

Forty-three points to Louisiana!

Major effort in Louisiana to keep the French language alive
David Grunfeld/MCT /Getty Images

I combined the next two data points into one measurement, since they’re closely related and intrinsically tied to each other: Number of beer and liquor sales per capita along with the amount of drunk, shirtless dudes going, “Woooooo!” just before doing something stupid at any given moment.

Unfortunately, we lost to Florida on this one, but don’t feel bad. Everyone lost to Florida on this one.

Zero points to Louisiana!

two young guys at the disco

Fortunately, every state that isn’t Florida also got a free point for Not Being Florida, so it balances out.

One point to Louisiana!


Nearing the end of my data gathering, I decided I should factor in something other states might not find all that important but that’s a pretty big deal around here: the ratio of people yelling “Who dat?” to “Roll tide!”

If you’ve ever been around anyone shouting the latter, you know how awful it can be and how much damage it can do to any decent, self-respecting state’s reputation. Fortunately, after conducting thorough research into the matter, it’s clear that Louisiana firmly remains the Who Dat Nation.

Nineteen points to Louisiana!

Dallas Cowboys v New Orleans Saints
Getty Images

So far, the Bayou State has a total of ninety-seven points, which if you’ll recall the requirements stated at the beginning of this article, is three points shy of classifying Louisiana as the best state in the country - but don’t worry! We still have one important factor to consider: the accidental comedy of local politicians.

Love him or leave him, we have Clay Higgins. And that’s all we need to say about that.

Three points to Louisiana!

Here’s a quick breakdown for everyone who skipped to the end because words are the enemy and reading scares you.

2 points - Number of Gators per capita
23 points - Crawfish availability
9 points - Number of festivals per year
43 points - Can you get a decent bowl of gumbo?
0 points - Beer and alcohol sales + drunk shirtless dudes going “Wooooo” per capita
1 point - Not being Florida
19 points - Ratio of people who yell Who Dat? to Roll Tide
3 points - Accidental comedy of local politicians

There you have it, folks. The first highly accurate, scientific study has conclusively concluded that Louisiana is finally #1 on one of these stupid internet listicles.

Now go tell everyone you know about it because we’re sick of WalletHub lying to everyone about how awful we are.

Brian Jackson

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