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Dictionary

Even though the map shows New Orleans in the Deep South, there are days when you might think you're in Boston or Brooklyn! We have unique terms to reflect our ethnic heritage and traditions…and listen carefully: we've got our own way of pronouncing them, too!

Banquett (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.

Beignet (ben-yay) A square piece of dough that is fried and topped with powdered sugar

Cajun (kay-jun)
French Acadians that settled here from Canada

Carnival
The party season before Mardi Gras, starts on January 6 (the Twelfth Night).

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 Caribbean slaves and natives; also refers to any person whose ancestry derives from the mixed nationalities in the Caribbean

Crescent City Connection
Twin bridges connecting the East Bank with the West Bank

"Dressed"
Sandwiches served with lettuce, tomatoes and mayonnaise.

Fais do-do (Fay-dough-dough)
A Cajun dance party

Gris gris (gree gree)
Voodoo good luck charm

King Cake
Extra-large oval doughnut pastry dusted with colored candied sugar in purple, green and gold. 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 next cake for the next party throughout the Mardi Gras season.

Krewe (crue)
A Carnival organization's members

Lagniappe (lan-yap)
Something extra that you didn't pay for – like a baker's dozen.

Laissez le Bon temp rouler (Lazay-lay-bon-ton-roulay
) Let the good times roll!

Lundi Gras
The day before Mardi Gras when King Rex and King Zulu arrive on the riverfront.

"Makin' groceries"
The process of going to buy groceries

Mardi Gras
Also known as Fat Tuesday, it's the last day to celebrate before the traditional Catholic tradition of sacrificing and fasting during the 40 days of Lent.

Muffuletta (Moo Fa' lotta) and a lotta it is!
Super-large, round, fat sandwich filled with salami-type meats, mozzarella cheese, pickles, and olive salad.

Neutral Ground
Median or grassy area between the paved areas on a boulevard.

Shot gun
A single row house in which all rooms on one side are connected by a long single hallway.

Sno-ball
Shaved ice (nearly powder) served with flavored syrups.

Vieux Carre' (Vooo-caray)
French for "Old Quarter," this is a term used for the French Quarter including world-famous Bourbon Street

West Bank
You have to look east to see the "other" side of New Orleans, on the west bank of the Mississippi River. So, the East Bank is really on the west, and the West Bank is really on the east!

Yat
A standard greeting: "Where yat?" means "Hello, how are you doing?"

 

 

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