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Upcoming Events

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EN MAS’: Carnival and…

May 25 - Jun 7, 2015
Curated by Claire Tancons, Krista Thompson, EN MAS': Carnival and Performance… more

ETCHYNPÜFE Group Show…

May 25 - 31, 2015
The Foundation Gallery is excited to host ETCHYNPÜFE, a group show… more

Irish Sessions

May 25 - 25, 2015
Join us at the Irish House on Mondays for Irish Sessions. more

Jim Roche: Cultural…

May 25 - Jul 12, 2015
Born in 1943, Jim Roche received a BA from Florida State University (1961)… more

Preservation Jazz…

May 25 - 25, 2015
Live New Orleans Jazz Nightly! more

Tennessee Williams:…

May 25 - 31, 2015
Tennessee Williams was one of the most admired playwrights of the 20th century.… more

Purchased Lives: New…

May 26 - Jul 18, 2015
The Historic New Orleans Collection's newest exhibition, "Purchased… more

The Irish House…

May 26 - 26, 2015
Join us at the Irish House for a Bluegrass Jam Session. more

Le Petit Theatre…

May 27 - 31, 2015
This classic Stephen Sondheim and George Furth musical traces the lives of… more

Lecture: “Finding…

May 27 - 27, 2015
Join us at the Historic New Orleans Collection for the Lecture: "Finding… more

Pub Quiz

May 27 - 27, 2015
Join us every Wednesday at the Irish House for Pub Quiz. more

The Maison Dupuy…

May 27 - 27, 2015
Join us at the Maison Dupuy for Sippin' in the Courtyard. The Maison Dupuy will… more

The Victory Belles…

May 27 - 27, 2015
Noted for their close harmonies and synchronized dance steps, the Andrews… more

YLC Wednesday at the…

May 27 - 27, 2015
The 12-week concert series takes place in downtown New Orleans at Lafayette… more

Jazz in the Park…

May 28 - 28, 2015
Jazz in the Park returns for eight straight weeks this spring, running from… more

The Irish House…

May 28 - 28, 2015
Join us at the Irish House for Patrick Cooper. more

Yappy Hour in the…

May 28 - 28, 2015
Join us for  Yappy Hour in the Courtyard at Rare Form, to benefit the… more

The Irish House…

May 29 - 29, 2015
Join us at the Irish House for Patie O'Sullivan. more

New Orleans Oyster…

May 30 - 31, 2015
You better not eat for days leading up to the 2015 New Orleans Oyster Festival.… more

NORDC Movies in the…

May 30 - 30, 2015
Join us for NORDC Movies in the Park screening of "Dolphin Tale… more

EN MAS’: Carnival and…

May 25 - Jun 7, 2015
Curated by Claire Tancons, Krista Thompson, EN MAS': Carnival and Performance… more

Sound Like a Local

New Orleans'unique culture comes with a language all its own. Explore below for a crashcourse in NOLA speak. 

  • NOLA: Short for- New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Banquette: Sidewalk.
  • Bayou: Choctaw for "small stream." It's a creek with a slow current, flowing from a river or lowland lake, often through swamp areas, usually in a delta region. Amongits many nicknames, Louisiana is called "The Bayou State" for its beautiful wetland regions.
  • Cajun: Nickname for Acadians, the French-speaking people who migrated to Louisiana from Nova Scotia, starting in 1755.
  • Cities of the Dead: New Orleans cemeteries. Because of the high water table, we spend the afterlife buried above ground instead of six feet under it. Elaborate monuments cluster together like small communities.
  • Directions: There is no West, East, North, or South in New Orleans. We head uptown, downtown, lakeside and riverside. And anywhere the music is.
  • Fais-do-do (fay-doe-doe): It means, "Put the kids to sleep." And party hearty. In the old days, when Cajuns would celebrate, they brought the kids with their blankies so the little ones could snooze while adults would eat, drink, and dance their way through the night.
  • Faubourg (foe-burg): As in "Faubourg Marigny." Originally suburbs, they are now neighborhoods near the French Quarter. (The Vieux Carré once defined the entire city of New Orleans.)
  • Gris-gris (gree-gree): "X" marks the spot. Voodoo spells, often indicated by Xs, are still found on tombs like that of legendary voodoo queen Marie Laveau.
  • Gumbo ya-ya: "Everybody talking at once."
  • Isleños (iz-lay-nyos): Islanders; in this case, Spanish settlers from the Canary Islands. Since 1799, they've been fishermen, trappers, and master boat builders in Louisiana. You can find them downriver, in St. Bernard Parish.
  • Jazz: Louis Armstrong said, "If you gotta ask, you'll never know." So much for a definition. As for origin, some say it was a New Orleans barber named Buddy Bolden, who in 1891 blew a few hot notes with his cornet and invented a new form of music that's been an American favorite since the Jazz Age of the ‘20s. Jazz mixes African and Creole rhythms with European styles. Surprisingly, the Irish, Germans, and Italians contributed the brass bands.
  • Krewe: Members of a carnival organization, as in Krewe of Rex. A variation of "crew," the word was invented by 19th-century New Orleanians, who privately bankrolled the balls and parades (as is still the case).
  • Lagniappe (lan-yap): A little something extra. A free coffee or dessert or a few extra ounces of boudin put the "bons" in "bons temps."
  • Laissez les bons temps rouler! (less-say lay bon tonh roo-lay): Let the good times roll.
  • Makin' groceries: Shopping for groceries. What you do before whipping up some gumbo.
  • Neutral ground: When the Americans arrived in New Orleans after the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, Europeans and Creoles who inhabited the French Quarter (then, the entire city of New Orleans) considered them unwelcome interlopers. So the immigrants settled across Canal Street and established what is now the Central Business and Arts District. Canal Street became the "neutral ground" in the clash of cultures. Ever since, New Orleans has been a city sans medians. Here, we have only neutral grounds. In case you're wondering, cars parked on the raised neutral grounds mean only two things: nearby parades or a forecast of rain.
  • New Orleans: Pronounced noo aw-lins or new or-lins or new or-lee-yuns, but not new orleens. Unless referring to the street or the parish of or-leens. Or when you're singing. Confused yet?
  • Parish: Equivalent of a county in the other 49 states.
  • Pass a good time: Live it up.
  • Picayune: Old Spanish coin, 1/8 of a dollar. Connotes something really small or petty.
  • Pirogue: Shallow canoe used in the bayous.
  • Pro bono publico: "For the common good," motto of Rex, King of Carnival.
  • Secondline: The people who follow a brass band on the street while swinging a handkerchief in a circle over their heads. These second-liners also have a special shuffle step or dance they do when following the band commonly referred to as "buck jumping" or "secondlining."
  • Streetcar: New Orleans' name for the world's oldest continuously operating electric street railway. In 1835, a steam engine train ran from the Vieux Carré along St. Charles to the outlying town of Carrollton (now the Uptown Riverbend area). In the 1860s, the route became a horse-and mule-drawn line, and went electric in 1893.
  • Street Names: We've got some strange pronunciation. A sample:
    • Burgundy (bur-gun-dee)
    • Conti (con-tie)
    • Calliope (kal-ee-ope)
    • Melpomene (mel-puh-meen)
    • Tchoupitoulas (chop-ih-too-liss)
    • Clio (clee-oh) but often completely misread as C-L 10. Honest.
  • Swamp: A low, marshy wetland, heavily forested and subject to seasonal flooding.
  • Vieux Carré (vyeuh kah-ray): Literally, "Old Square" or "Old Quarter," it refers to the French Quarter. Before it was "Old," "French," or a "Quarter" of any kind, the area was just the "Ville," the entire city of New Orleans. Today, its 90 city blocks hold about 2,700 European and Creole-style buildings, most with a long and fascinating history.
  • Voodoo: From voudun, meaning "god," "spirit," or "insight" in the Fon language of Dahomey. Voodoo came from the West African Yoruba religion via Haiti, where African practices mingled with the Catholicism of French colonists.
  • Yat: A local denizen. Named for the Ninth Ward greeting, "Where y'at?"