SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Our Cajun Sister State
By Dave Kiffer


February 12, 2007
Monday PM

Ketchikan, Alaska - I read recently that the most popular baby names in Alaska are "Madison" for girls and "Ethan" for boys.

jpg Dave Kiffer

It seems odd to name a young girl after either a president or an avenue, but what do I know? Maybe there are a lot more "Splash" fans out there than I realize.

The name Ethan has been a pretty popular one for boys for some time, so that is no surprise.

Once upon a time just about every young child was named either John or Mary, so at least we are progressing beyond that.

After all, it could be like the 1890s when an awful lot of kids were being saddled with Gertrude and Horace.

Naming someone Gertrude or Horace in 2007 would lead to a later-in-life lawsuit for "parental malpractice."

I was curious about baby names in other states so I checked with the Social Security Administration website to see where Alaska's name choices ranked.

"Madison" is a fairly common name to be bestowed these days and was the third most popular girls name in America in 2005.

Besides Alaska, it was the top "vote getter" in Wyoming, South Dakota, Mississippi, Alabama. Kentucky, West Virginia and Delaware.

Ethan was the fifth most common boys names in the U.S. in 2005.

Besides topping the hospital charts in Alaska, it was the most popular name in Idaho, North Dakota, Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The biggest surprise is that Louisiana shares the same two popular names with Alaska: Madison and Ethan.

That got me to pondering what other similarities there between the Queen of Exxon and the Queen of FEMA.

Both states have big oil industries and many, many, many members of the Corrupt Bas---'s Club.

We both got "purchased." Louisiana from the French and Alaska from the Russians and we both have elected officials currently for sale!

Both states have ocean coastlines with lots of flotsam.

Both states have "Big Muddys." Theirs is the Mississippi and ours is the Yukon.

Both states have female governors.

People complain about the weather in both states and nobody does anything about it.

Louisiana is the Pelican State and Alaska is the Pemmican State.

Louisiana has bayou and we have muskeg.

Louisiana has New Orleans and Alaska has New Stoyahuk!

There really is a world of similarity between the Last Frontier and the Land of Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez (Let the graft-times roll).

For example, Louisiana has people living "off the grid" in the bayou and Alaska has people "off the grid" in Hollis.

Tallulah, Louisiana gets 2 inches of rain each month, Ketchikan, Alaska gets 2 inches of rain each day.

Louisiana has Harry Connick Jr. and Alaska has Mr. Whitekeys.

Louisiana was the original "Dixieland" because its $10 bills were called "dixies" after the French word for ten. In Alaska, we call our money "Uncle Teds."

Louisiana has great Cajun Cuisine that tingles your tongue. Alaska has fermented beaver tail which also tingles your tongue (right before the botulism kills you)

Louisiana has lots of cool French names (Baton Rouge!). Alaska has the highest per-capita consumption of McDonald's French Fries.

In Louisiana, biting someone with your natural teeth is considered "simple" assault, while biting some with false teeth is "aggravated assault." Biting someone with no teeth (gums) is considered a sign of affection in Alaska.

Louisiana has a 24 mile bridge on Lake Ponchartrain. Alaska has a 2,724 mile bridge from Don Young's office to Gravina.

Louisiana adhers to the "Napoleonic Code." Alaska's justice system is based on the "Code of (Jay) Hammond-arabi."

Neither state has "counties." Louisiana has "parishes" based originally on religious boundaries. Alaska has "boroughs" based primarily on "a wing and a prayer."

Louisiana's motto is "Union, Justice and Confidence" Alaska's is also "Union (Federal Funding), Justice (Rough) and Confidence (Men)."

Louisiana has "Mardi Gras." Alaska has the "Skunk Cabbage Fest" (Naukati).

Alaska has an oil pipeline. Louisiana has lots of oily, little "peesh-wanks!"

Louisiana has the Superdome. Alaska has Ester Dome.

Louisiana had a natural disaster in 2005 (Hurricane Katrina) and Alaska had a natural disaster in 2005 (Governor Murkowski's natural gas pipeline negotiations).

You're probably wondering what this has to do with the most popular baby names in Alaska in 2006.

I shall answer in the language of our sister state.

"Mais, coo-yon, dat don matta a tall."

But, as usual, I digress.


Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
Contact Dave at

Dave Kiffer ©2006

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