Learn New Orleans Lingo With Comm Bayle Goldman!

 In one week, SWUSY will be celebrating Mardi Gras in New Orleans! Get to know some popular lingo below so you can sound like a native next week!

  • Ball (bal masque, tableau ball)- A Mardi Gras krewe’s formal event and dance
  • Banquette (ban’ ket)- Sidewalk–French meaning a small bank along the road
  • Bayou (by’ you)- Slow stream, or body of water running through a marsh or swamp.
  • Beaucoup Crasseux (boo coo cra sue)- Translated: very dirty
  • Big Easy– “The Big Easy” became the official nickname for New Orleans after a contest was run years ago.
  • Bourre (BOO ray)- Translated: A French card game. “Wildly popular way to gamble on the old riverboats, and still is among Cajuns.
  • Cajun (kay’ jun)- French Acadians who settled here after immigrating from Canada.
  • Camelback (cam’ l bak)- A single row house with the back half made into a two-story. The front section remains a single.
  • Captain– Leader of a Carnival organization.
  • Carnival- The party season before Mardi Gras. Starts on January 6 (Twelfth Night). Celebrated with king cakes at Mardi Gras parties.
  • Cayoodle– A mixed breed dog.
  • Cher– New Orleans Translation: An expression many use when greeting another. A term of affection meaning “dear” or “love”
  • Chute-the-chute- Playground slide.
  • Crescent City– A nickname for New Orleans, originating from the shape of the Mississippi River as it bends around the city.
  • Creole (cree’ ole)- Descendents of French, Spanish, and Carribean slaves and natives; has also come to mean any person whose ancestry derives from the Caribbean’s mixed nationalities.
  • Den– Mardi Gras float warehouse.
  • Doubloons (duh bloons’)- Aluminum coins stamped with a parade krewe’s insignia and theme.
  • Do-do (dough dough–not du-du!)- In New Orleans, it’s a cute word children use when tired and sleepy (from the French “to sleep”: dormir).
  • Dressed– Sandwiches served with lettuce, tomatoes and mayonnaise: “the works” (and, of course…the way those with class catch their Mardi Gras throws!).
  • Fat City– A region of Metairie (see below) and a popular place to party during Mardi Gras, originating from the term Fat Tuesday (the literal translation of Mardi Gras).
  • “Fixin’ to”– About to
  • Flambeaux (flam’ bo)- Lit torches historically carried during night parades.
  • “Four Major Points on the NO Compass”– Of course the four major points on the NO compass are: Lakeside, Riverside, East Bank, and West Bank (over which the sun rises every day!)
  • Gallery (galllll rreeeee)- Balcony–walkway outside of homes on the second floor.
  • GNO– Greater New Orleans area.
  • Gris gris (gree gree)- Voodoo good luck charm
  • Gumbo Ya-Ya– Translated: everybody talking all at once; i.e., at a loud party.
  • Hurricane Party– What some residents do after securing their houses for a hurricane: throw a party! (If it’s safe to stay, that is!) Get some snacks, drinks, and buddies, and hunker down to watch the TV news give hurricane updates! Hurricane is also the name of a famous New Orleans drink. Be careful; they sneak up on you.
  • “It don’ madda”– Translated: “It doesn’t matter.”
  • King cake– Extra-large oval doughnut pastry dusted with colored candied sugar. A plastic baby doll is hidden inside the cake–the lucky person who gets the piece of cake with the doll inside (and doesn’t break a tooth or swallow it in the process!) buys the king cake for the next party of the Mardi Gras season.
  • Krewe (crue)- A Carnival organization’s members.
  • Lagniappe (lan’ yap)- Something extra that you didn’t pay for–thrown in to sweeten the deal–like a baker’s dozen.
  • Laissez les bons temps rouler (Lazay Lay Bon Tom Roulay)- Let the good times roll.
  • Lundi Gras– The day before Mardi Gras, when King Rex and King Zulu arrive on the riverfront.
  • Mardi Gras- Fat Tuesday, the day before Lent…The day to celebrate before the traditional Catholic tradition of sacrificing and fasting during the 40 days of Lent.
  • Maskers– Float riders and anyone dressed in costume.
  • Metairie (Met’ tree)- A suburb of New Orleans–between the airport and New Orleans.
  • MY-Nez– Translated: “mayonnaise”
  • “N’awlins”– “New Orleans”–It’s faster that way!
  • Neutral Ground– Median or grassy area between the paved areas on a boulevard. Named for the original Canal St division between the Americans and Creoles, who did not like each other.
  • Pantry (pan-tree)- Cupboard.
  • The Parish (da Parish)- Louisiana has parishes, not counties, but this often refers to Chalmette, a suburb outside of New Orleans.
  • “Pass a Good Time”– Translated: Have a good time.
  • Picayune (Pic’ ee yoon)
    • Small, nit-picky (It was a Spanish coin worth more than a nickel and less than a dime: 6 1/4 cents, to be precise)
    • Name of our newspaper, the “Times-Picayune”
    • Small town north of New Orleans in Mississippi.
  • Pirogue (Pee’ row) Yes, it sure looks funny!- Flat-bottomed canoe, perfect in the bayous.
  • Praline (Praw’ leen)- Brown sugar pecan-filled candy patty. (Very sweet and so delicious you can’t eat just one!)
  • Shotgun– Usually part of a “double”–a single row house in which all rooms on one side are connected by a long single hallway–you can open the front door and shoot a gun straight through the back door, without hitting a single wall…now, I have no idea who has tried this, or even why this is the way one describes these houses!
  • Slave Quarters– Houses behind the main building of large plantation homes where slaves used to live.
  • Soc Au’ Lait (Sock-o-lay)- Translated: sack of milk. Used in place of “What the?”, “Ouch!”, or “WOW!”
  • Tchoupitoulas Street (Chop a two’ les)- Interesting street name. One of the trickiest to pronounce–and spell!
  • Throws– Trinkets such as beads, cups, and doubloons tossed from the floats to the crowds during Mardi Gras parades.
  • “Throw Me Something, Mister!”– What everyone yells at parades to get throws from the maskers on the floats!
  • Uptown (uhp’ tawn)- Area “upriver” from the French Quarter.
  • Vieux Carre’ (Vooo ca ray’) (View ca ray’)- French for “Old Quarter,” this is a term used for the French Quarter, including world-famous Bourbon Street…experience it in any of our French Quarter Hotels.
  • Voodoo (Voo’ doo)- A form of witchcraft.
  • West Bank– You have to look east to see the “other” side of New Orleans, on the west bank of the Mississippi.
  • “Who Dat?”– A New Orleans Saints fan and a chant. “Who dat? Who dat? Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints?”
  • Yat– Standard greeting–(“Where yat?” is “Hello, how are you doing?”). “Yat”
  • is also used as as noun to describe a true native New Orleanian.
  • “Yea, you right!”– Translated: “Yes, you are right!”

Lingo courtesy of experienceneworleans.com