A Local’s Survival Guide to New Orleans
Basic Facts – Dropping Some Knowledge
- It’s New Orl-enz, not New Or-Leenz ← for the love of God, please.
- Only tourists walk around with I <3 New Orleans shirts, or other rip-off touristy tees that you can get on Bourbon, if you want to feel like you fit in and get a NOLA look, grab a tee with a fluer de lis on it, especially black and gold if you are feeling really friendly. Don’t worry, we won’t rat you out to your local team.
- If you want your sandwich/burger with lettuce, tomato and onion on it – asked for it DRESSED, or all the fixins. If you want it plain, say plain – not undressed. We’ll just look at ya funny.
- It is a Po-Boy – not a Sub, which is shortened for Poor Boy. But no one says Poor Boy in the later generations, but you will still see signs that advertise Poor-Boys.
- It’s The Dome – not the Mercedes Benz Superdome…but thanks for turning it purple guys!
- We just have to be different, we call them Parishes, not counties, New Orleans is made up of Orleans (you can say it now Or-Leenz) Parish and it’s neighbor is Jefferson and St. Bernard Parishes. St. Tammany Parish is across “The Lake” which is that big lake called Lake Pontchartrain. Pon-cha-train.
- The French Quarter is probably the only area of the city you’ll experience in your visit, but it is a tourist area. Most locals visit the French Quarter about once a year, if that. If you want to see “real New Orleans” areas, jump on the Street Car and take it to the Garden District or Mid-City. Stroll down Magazine Street, or go further and visit Lakeview and the shopping on Harrison Ave. Hit the Lakefront and grab some really good seafood.
- We call it a Street Car not a trolly. You can take the Street Car all the way to the cemeteries located in Mid City which used to be the outskirts of the city.
- It is a Neutral Ground, not a median. That strip in-between streets. You see the French and the Spanish didn’t like each other much and that strip was considered a “Neutral Ground” where they could do business without insulting their French of Spanish sensibilities. When you know someone who is riding on a float during a parade – you gotta ask them “What side?” They’ll respond with “#18 Neutral Ground or Street Side” meaning what side of the float they are on and the float number.
- Anything with an oux is oo and eaux is pronounced like an “O” – It is Geaux aka Go – Not Goo. But it is Roux – roo – not Row. I know. Sorry!
- Yes, bars do not close in New Orleans. Well most of them don’t. Confession time, I have been in a bar drinking at 7am. I was just leaving.
- Lagniappe – Lan-yap – is something free. Or a little bit of extra for free. If I’m giving you a lagniappe – I’m throwing in something extra cause you are a bit of awesome. Like giving your kid a sucker with that beer purchase you just made…
- It is a Snowball not a Snow Cone – and you have never tasted anything like it. Get one and leave the Quarter to get one. We recommend: Hansen’s Sno-Bliz (4801 Tchoupitoulas St., (Chop – a – tool – is) or Sal’s Sno-balls (1823 Metairie Road, Metairie)
- We do talk funny, but we do not have a Southern Drawl.
- We like to separate ourselves from the rest of the people – we barely acknowledge that we are located in Louisiana. We are a unique breed of people. Austin has to post billboards saying “Keep Austin Weird” – we don’t have to post billboards, we know we’re weird. If you don’t believe us – strike up a conversation with your waitress or bartender, even the doorman at your hotel. I bet you’ll know their life story by the end of the conversation. And it will always be interesting.
- A lot of our history is Spanish, even though we give it a French name. Most of the French Quarter was actually built by the Spanish after a terrible fire destroyed most of the district. Even Cafe du Monde was actually founded by Spanish. But, don’t bring that up. The traditional iron work that you see on balconies in the French Quarter is actually a Spanish architectural style. Before the fire, balconies were ringed with wooden columns and balustrades.
- We bury our dead above ground, not just to be different, but because we literally can’t. It is the same reason why New Orleans homes do not have basements, our ground soil is too wet it would just fill up with water. We call our cemeteries the City of the Dead, and it makes sense, they have little streets and fences around the tomb, just like little houses. We like to be comfortable, even in death.
- A second-line is a New Orleans tradition, it’s a sort of dance, more a parade. You grab an umbrella and a napkin and you “parade” around a room or down the street to traditional New Orleans brass band music. It is a New Orleans tradition for a bride to have a fabulously decorated umbrella as one of her “bridal” pieces and she will lead the second-line around the room at the end of her wedding reception.
Darker Tid-Bits – There is a reason why New Orleans is the setting of a lot of Urban Fantasies & Paranormal Romances
- New Orleans Voodoo is still a practiced religion to this day. The religion was developed from the West African religion of Vudun and mixed in with Christian beliefs as a way for slaves to save their religions, since it was illegal for them to practice their own religion.
- New Orleans residents can not be buried under ground because of the water levels. The bodies would “pop” up out of the ground. My family has told me stories that they saw “old” coffins that had been unearthed after Hurricane Betsy. But, that is my family and I don’t know how reliable that is…
- Most hotels in New Orleans are said to be haunted, the most well-known is the Hotel Monteleone and The Pavillion hotel.
- Vampire stories are still told about current residents in the French Quarter. One still to this day. Locals and tourist alike have said to be “kissed on the neck” by a handsome stranger outside of a local bar. He is said to hunt in the Faubourg Marigny.
- Our funerals are parties, they are called Jazz Funerals, this began during a Yellow Fever outbreak when people carried the bodies through the streets to “confuse” the deceased who they thought were returning to infect the living
- New Orleans also has werewolves, it is called the Rougarou, which is very similar to the word loupe garou. The Rougarou hunts the swamps of Southern Louisiana
- You can visit Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau at her gravesite in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, visitors mark her tomb with an X for luck, turn around in a circle three times and then declare the wish out loud. If the wish is granted, you better go back to the site and circle your x – and then leave Laveau an offering…she could always take back her wish. It is disputed that this is actually the gravesite of Laveau.
- The St. Louis Cemetery is also considered the most haunted cemetery in the U.S.
Want more of the darker side of New Orleans?
When you see me at RT ask me for a Haunted New Orleans Walking Tour – or check pack for the online version which will be published next week. Here is a preview:
And Finally – if you want to show off your “real face” and are attending RT -leave the link to your website, to say, hey I’ll be there! This is what I look like: