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"Prospect.3: Notes…

Nov 28, 2014 - Jan 25, 2015
Prospect New Orleans, the International Contemporary Art Biennial,  will… more

"The Victory Belles…

Nov 28 - 28, 2014
Our popular, charming vocal trio is in a holiday mood! Come jingle all the way… more

2014 Battle of the…

Nov 28 - 28, 2014
The Bayou Classic is more than a football game. This annual event is one of the… more

An Evening of…

Nov 28 - 28, 2014
Join us for an evening of elegance with Lalah Hathaway, Najee, and Kindred The… more

Andrew Jackson: Hero…

Nov 28, 2014 - Mar 29, 2015
THNOC's exhibition tracks Jackson's rise from humble beginnings to immortality… more

Celebration in the…

Nov 28, 2014 - Jan 03, 2015
City Park's annual holiday lighting exhibit and festival returns with one of… more

The Victory Belles…

Nov 28, 2014 - Jun 24, 2015
Noted for their close harmonies and synchronized dance steps, the Andrews… more

The Victory Belles…

Nov 28 - Dec 28, 2014
Our popular, charming vocal trio is in a holiday mood! Come jingle all the way… more

ThinkerKids Holiday…

Nov 28 - 28, 2014
Come explore science, technology, art and math with us at ThinkerKids Holiday… more

"The Victory Belles…

Nov 29 - 29, 2014
Our popular, charming vocal trio is in a holiday mood! Come jingle all the way… more

Bayou Classic

Nov 29 - 29, 2014
The 41st Annual Bayou Classic will take place in the Dome on Saturday, November… more

"The Victory Belles…

Nov 30 - 30, 2014
Our popular, charming vocal trio is in a holiday mood! Come jingle all the way… more

"The Victory Belles…

Nov 30 - 30, 2014
Our popular, charming vocal trio is in a holiday mood! Come jingle all the way… more

300 Riderz Horse…

Nov 30 - 30, 2014
Bayou Classic weekend the city of New Orleans will witness its biggest trail… more

Kirk Franklin…

Nov 30 - 30, 2014
Raise the roof Sunday mornings with brunch featuring the explosive energy of… more

Teddy Bear Tea

Nov 30 - Dec 21, 2014
Teddy Bear Tea returns to The Roosevelt, inviting everyone to celebrate the… more

Christmas in the…

Dec 01, 2014 - Jan 01, 2015
Celebrate the season in New Orleans' historic Warehouse District with dazzling… more

Christmas New Orleans…

Dec 1 - 31, 2014
There's no place like New Orleans for the holidays during Christmas New Orleans… more

Christmas New Orleans…

Dec 1 - 18, 2014
Local choirs and New Orleans artists herald in the season with nightly… more

Melissa Etheridge:…

Dec 1 - 1, 2014
Academy Award and GRAMMY winning artist, Melissa Etheridge, will take the… more

"Prospect.3: Notes…

Nov 28, 2014 - Jan 25, 2015
Prospect New Orleans, the International Contemporary Art Biennial,  will… 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?"