"What kind of name is that?"
"Ohh! A coonass!* Have you ever paddled one of those long, narrow canoes?"
"Yes, if that's what you people call them."
"Do you have alligators back home?"
"Uh, yes. We do. And pelicans, muskrats, and nutria also."
"Do you wear shoes back home?"
"Does your family speak real English or just French?" [Actually, I do best with New Orleans English and a Louisiana dialect of French.]
Now here is where the role of imparting real factual information often takes second place to the Cajun trickster or raconteuse that so easily comes out at this time. And the usual spoken English gradually morphs into a pronounced, exaggerated dialect. These and those becomes dese and doses. Dat's rite! That sounds exotic in places where people say "You betcha!" or drink soda.
"Did ya ever eat alligator?"
"Why no. Dat wouldn't be right. We have a pet gator, Albie, and we wouldn't feel right in eating our beloved pet or his kin. Gators got feelins' too."
And somewhere along in the tale I spun managed to go to school by pirogue instead of riding a city bus. And became barefooted instead of wearing shoes to school with the school color-coded Catholic school uniform. (In our case, brown skirts with white blouses.)
"Whooo-eeee! Swamp girl goes get some educatin'" !
And I need to mention that we drink local beers: Abita, Dixie, and whatever the store sells cut rate. And all of us, hommes and filles alike are handy with a knife. And a fork and spoon, too!
And if I'm really expansive (or full of shit!), I tell of loup-garous, lost Acadian maids and their lovers, Yankee soldiers that got lost while invading the bayous, moonshiners, swamp monsters, and Tomfool politicians who promised too much. And stories of wild parties during hurricanes also can also be told! Apocrypha is never out of style!
My rationale is that, if there is to be a choice between the everyday reality and the exotic, people would rather hear the exotic every time. Especially around campfires.
Yes, it helps to be able to keep a straight face while being a Cajun raconteuse! Anyway, the drama queen in me likes †o be seen as some untamed exotic!
*Using that term in Southern Louisiana does not help to win friends and influence people there, my friens.' Fo' true!.