This article from the Daily Advertiser's Kris Wartelle credits Lafayette's top of the happiness charts to one particular thing:
I chalk it up to drive-thru daiquiri shops. All of the happiest cities in Louisiana have drive-thru daiquiri huts. ... We already know food makes people happy, and Lord knows we've got good food down to an art. But we also know people tend to get really happy when they enjoy a few adult beverages. And, well, around here it's hard to avoid those.
She's being tongue-in-cheek here, but she nailed it.
There are plenty of ways to be happy and have fun without drinking, of course, but it's intrinsic in most activities, from festivals to road races to nothing at all.
When I first moved to Baton Rouge, I had this conversation multiple times (and also in Lafayette):
Them: So, what do you like to do?
Me: I'm into cycling, swimming pools, football, politics and comedy, and sometimes I like to hang out in coffeehouses and write. You?
South Louisiana is the only place I've ever gotten that answer, at least in that form. It's not like no one anywhere else drinks — of course they do, often a lot — but it's something undertaken during something else. Or it's a joking answer. It's rarely a serious answer to a question about hobbies.
I hardly ever drink, so any event where alcohol is the focal point is going to bore me. As long as there's something else going on, even if it's just relaxed conversation, I'll have fun. But fixate on the spirits, and I'm like someone at a Super Bowl party who hates both football and commercials. I couldn't possibly keep up.
Them: "What's your favorite microbrew?"
Me: "Uh ... Milwaukee? That's a beer, right?"
Them: "Why are you at my party?"
Drink-to-forget is something I have aimed to avoid all my life. Drink-for-fun is something I'm not into any more than horror movies or Truck Nutz (though go for it if you like it). Drive-thru daiquiri huts might make Lafayette and South Louisiana festive, but I'm happier not worrying about those when I'm behind the wheel.