When I went on tour with the choir everyone we spoke to brought up Katrina. Can't help that I AM from New Orleans though, but that was the most common topic. I kept it brief. "We did alright." And went on to the next subject...which clearly didn't interest them much either, they got what they wanted.
Nothing you can say, do, or think will change that. If they think we're a bunch of backwood hicks that speak like Cajun Larry the Cable Guys or something that eat alligators or whatever that are defined by something that happened 7 years ago, then that's their problem. Not ours.
That's why I've adopted the screw what they think mentality. It's beating your head against the wall. Those people won't understand us. So let them wallow and think what they're gonna think because they're gonna do it anyway.
You don't give US a name just so people will wonder why we didn't name ourselves something ignorant. You name us what you name is for OUR benefit.