Louisville, Kentucky is located on the Ohio River on the border between Indiana and Kentucky. It was founded by George Rogers Clark in 1778 and was named after King Louis XVI of France (RNFA). There is much debate about how the city is pronounced, but most Louisvillians pronounce it as Loo-a-vul. Pronunciations most commonly heard outside the city limits are Louis-ville or Looey-ville. Louisville is the largest city in Kentucky with a population of 621,349, and of that 51.7 percent are female, 70.9 percent are Caucasian , 22.9 percent are African American, and 4.9 percent Hispanic or Latino (U.S. Census). Louisville is most famous for the Kentucky Derby, the first race in the Triple Crown, taking place on the first Saturday of every May. The Derby attracts many famous celebrities, one of which has been the Queen of England. The city hosts a festival leading up to the race including Thunder Over Louisville, Pegasus Parade, The Great Steamboat Race, and the Balloon Glow. The horse race and the events surrounding it bring in a great deal of income for the city. Louisville is also home to the Louisville Slugger Factory where many of the bats used in Major League Baseball are created. Some notable famous people from Louisville are Muhammad Ali, world famous boxer, and Jennifer Lawrence, the star of The Hunger Games series.
The structural material culture of Louisville has many different aspects. One of the first aspects is Louisville’s diverse music scene. Country music is popular amongst many people living in the city, but rap music is also a popular genre. Indie rock is also listened to frequently by teenagers, in fact there is an indie rock music festival held every year called Forecastle that features well-known artists. Louisville also has many unique businesses. One of the most popular gas station/ convenience stores in Louisville are Thornton’s which have a variety of different foods and drink options. Outside many businesses around the city are horse statues that businesses purchase and then have painted to symbolize their company or to raise awareness for a certain cause. The houses are typical of the Midwest region with basements in order to protect from tornadoes, back decks, and front porches. Recently there was an investment made in the Louisville park system to extend an area called Floyd’s Fork and to create a 100-mile biking trail that links the city together.
Louisville also has a unique individual material culture. The climate in Louisville is fairly mild with cold winters, hot summers, and fall and spring falling in between the two. This means that during the summer many Louisvillians are seen wearing shorts, t shirts, tanks, and swimsuits (one pieces have started to make a comeback). Then when it’s not summer many people wear leggings, big t shirts and sweatshirts, sweaters, and in the dead of winter big, puffy coats. Birkenstocks and chacos are two popular shoe choices since many Louisvillians enjoy being outside, walking around, and hiking since there are many beautiful local parks such as Iroquois, Cherokee, Seneca, and Beckley Creek, scattered around the city. Tablets are used at almost every high school in the city instead of textbooks. Louisville’s main school district is Jefferson County which is one of the biggest school districts in the country with 20 high schools, 90 elementary schools, and 40 middle schools. Since it is such a big school district the price of textbooks is expensive, therefore making it more practical to purchase e-books to keep up with the changing information and to save money. Louisville does not have a subway system, so cars, buses, and bikes are the typical ways that people get to and from work and school. Around Derby time, and primarily around Derby time, big, fancy hats are worn by women attending the Derby or Derby parties. Famous foods specific to Louisville are the Kentucky Hot Brown, a hot turkey sandwich with bacon, tomatoes, and a special cheese sauce, and the Mint Julep, a popular drink served at the Kentucky Derby.
The symbol for the city of Louisville is the fleur de lis; many woman wear the symbol on their hats, purses, and shirts. A cardinal bird represents the University of Louisville Cardinals. I am also a St. Louis Cardinals fan, so when I was younger I didn’t understand why people assumed I was a University of Louisville fan when I said that I cheered for the Cardinals. Some of the other symbols include the cross. The dominant religion in Louisville is Catholicism and Christianity. Around town there are many churches and schools that display crosses. The cross symbolizes the church, but also freedom from sin and hope for many people.
In Louisville the predominant language is English, but there are some areas of the city and homes that speak other languages such as Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, and German. “Y’all” is a slang term meaning “you all” that is often used in Louisville, but it isn’t used as frequently as it is throughout the rest of the state. There is a big difference in slang between different age groups in Louisville. Teenagers use phrases such as “I’m ded,” which means that they think something is funny, and “bet,” meaning I’m going to do it. They also use the phrase “I’m about to smash” when they are about to eat a lot of food. I used this phrase one time when I was with a group of friends from a different part of Kentucky and they looked at me in shock and asked me if I knew what it meant. To them “smash” meant to have sex with someone, so I had to explain that I was saying it because I was about to eat a lot of food, and that it was the way we use the word in Louisville. Whenever I travel north I am told that I have a southern accent and whenever I travel south I am told that I have a northern accent. We aren’t considered the south to the southern states, but we aren’t considered north to the northern states. It’s an awkward in-between.
Values that are ingrained in the culture of Louisville are individualism, working hard to get ahead, and many traditional Christian religious beliefs. In Louisville there is much importance placed on the individual, being independent, striving to solve problems on your own. This independent mindset is developed in many of the primary schools throughout the area that teach taking responsibility for actions and through many of the sports teams that encourage children to take responsibility for their role on the team, their uniform, and getting to practice on time. Hard work is a common value in Louisville because it is believed that hard work “pays off” both literally and figuratively. Acquiring a good job and working hard at the job results in money, but it also results in the development of character. Many of the Christian beliefs are prominent throughout Louisville such as, helping those less fortunate, showing compassion to others, and loving your neighbors. This is shown through the many faith sponsored organizations such as the Salvation Army, Forgotten Louisville, and the Potter’s House, that are around the city and are designed to feed and shelter the less fortunate.
The norms of Louisville are no smoking in most public, enclosed spaces, wearing shoes and a shirt when going out in public, and tipping a waiter or waitress 20% the bill. Louisville is one of the most modernized areas of the state of Kentucky so nonsmoking areas are much more common in Louisville than other areas of the state. After it was discovered how bad smoking is for your health, and the way that smoke can bother other people, initiatives were taken to prevent it from happening in public places, especially those enclosed. Now it is the norm for it to be seen as disrespectful to smoke while out in public at a restaurant or in a shopping mall. Wearing a shirt and shoes out in public is something that no longer needs to be said because its seen as strange, against the norm, to do so. Tipping a waiter 20% of the bill is a norm, it’s something that’s viewed as polite and when people don’t tip the waiter its seen as unethical. I always view it as rude when people don’t pick up their trash when out to eat at fast food restaurants and when people cat call at people just walking down the street. I find these things rude and from what I’ve observed, others do as well, but for some people from different areas of the world its seen as disrespectful to clean up at restaurants and its seen as a compliment or as a greeting when someone is catcalled.
Louisville has various ethnic groups around the city. There are certain areas of the city that an ethnic group is centralized in and in those areas there are often restaurants with foods that are common to the specific ethnicity. There are many different types of religions in the city. There are mosques, Christian churches, Catholic churches, Jewish temples, and there was recently a Mormon temple built on the east side of Louisville. There is much religious and ethic diversity, not as much as some bigger cities, but it is still present. These groups have assimilated to the culture already present in Louisville, but bits and pieces of their cultures have integrated into the overall culture. In an effort to diversify the schools the district buses kids across town, taking away neighborhood schools. Louisville isn’t always the best at accepting people of different cultures, but it does a lot better job at it, and has a much more diverse culture than some other areas of the country that I have visited. From what I’ve observed there are different groups that are thriving, able to be different, and not persecuted for it. Louisville is a place where different cultures can thrive and combine to create a new multicultural, unique, and wonderful to be a part of.
“Louisville, Kentucky (Mar. 2-4, 2018 & Mar. 5-10, 2018).” RNFA, National Institute of First Assisting, www.rnfa.org/suturestar-workshops/class-locations/louisville-kentucky/. Accessed 10 Sep. 2018.
“U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Louisville/Jefferson County (Balance), Kentucky.” U.S. Census, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1 July 2017, www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/louisvillejeffersoncountybalancekentucky/PST045217. Accessed 10 Sep. 2018.