Warren occasionally listened in history class and he knew that in the final hours of the Civil War, when the South was falling, Texas helped cinch a Northern victory by convincing the slave states along their border, Louisiana and Arkansas, to join the Texas Empire as territories instead of re-joining the Union. The Texas Empire abolished slavery in 1897, but Louisiana and Arkansas stayed a part of the Empire until it fell.
Even after the massive build-up from the signs, Louisiana did not disappoint. Notices were posted at the border reminding Americans that prostitution and the sale and purchase of controlled substances were illegal and offenders would be prosecuted. The signs seemed to have little effect. The area around the Louisiana border reminded Warren of Pleasure Island from Pinocchio although he hadn't seen as many parlors in the Disney movie. In addition to the many opportunities to do terrible things that weren’t lawful in the United States, there were ample miniature golf courses, go-cart tracks, carnival rides, wax museums, drive-in daiquiri bars, places to buy fried Twinkies, and anything else that could be called a tourist trap. Warren didn't say it out loud, but part of him wanted to jump out at his first chance, buy a fried Twinkie and a daiquiri and run over to that go-cart track and play like it was his tenth birthday party.
It didn't take a genius to get why the border was like that. This was one of the major highways than connected the Texas Empire to the east coast of the United States, and everyone who lived in the eastern United States who wanted to be very, very bad with few consequences came here. Apparently, they weren't willing to drive many miles past the border station before they wanted to get out and party, so supply had met demand.
The more obviously illegal places, like Madame Minnie's Saloon and Parlor, had done minor things to seem like legal businesses. For example, the largest sign for Madame Minnie's looked brand new and used the term dance hall, but many of the smaller signs still said parlor. Another place, called Order of the Garter, advertised "jazz and women," which Warren supposed could be left up to interpretation.
Once they got deeper into Louisiana, the land become much less colorful but rather beautiful and humble. They drove over swamps on roads that looked like they were sponsored by the Hungry Alligator Lobby. He marveled at homes built on stilts right in the middle of the swamp. The residents had small fan boats tied to the steps, instead of cars parked in driveways. He couldn't imagine why anyone would look at that mosquito-infested swamp and say, "Yes. I wish to live here," but apparently, that's exactly what they did. He wondered if they did it just to prove they could.