In south Louisiana, there is no shortage of funny languages, accents, and phrases. One of these funny, yet powerful phrases is “Lâche pas la patate,” or in English, “Don’t let go of the potato.” It’s often used to encourage people to keep fighting and to never give up what they hold most dear.

It’s no wonder this phrase is so prevalent in south Louisiana, where people must adapt to many environmental challenges including hurricanes, oil spills, and coastal land loss. Since 1932, the state of Louisiana has lost 1900 square miles of land, or the equivalent of one football field of land per hour. As this land erodes, so does the unique heritage and traditions of the communities that live there. Old fishing spots, historical churches, and even cemeteries have suck beneath the water, never to be seen again.