Outside of an 18-month stretch of my life during high school, I hadn't really spent a lot of time in the South. As a result, I've always found the South to be quite mystifying: it's not so much a place as it is a "state of mind", personified by a relaxed way of life with hospitable inhabitants. I had every intention of visiting after we left, but I just never got around to finding the time.
Dave is one of my oldest friends, and after a few years of living fairly close to each other in Los Angeles, he moved to Mississippi to help run one of his family's grocery stores - he seized the opportunity for several reasons, most notably being his yearning for the Southern lifestyle.
From the moment he arrived, Dave suggested that I come visit so that he could show me this region that he loved so much. His grocery store had a connection to get free tickets for New Orleans Saints games, and Dave also had family members who were season ticket holders for LSU's football team, so we naturally tried to find a weekend in which we could see both teams play. When I began my Hockey Road Trip "quest", Dave suggested we expand our Louisiana football plan one step further, and work in a trip to see the nearest NHL team: the Dallas Stars.