As a visitor, you get a glimpse of our neighborhoods, a taste of the food, and a peek at the lively and textured culture that makes New Orleans special. But living here, you are not just a bystander. You are welcomed into the culture and celebration. The more time you spend here, the more living other places seems impossible.
New Orleans, more than many places I know, actually tangibly lives its culture. It’s not just a residual of life; it’s a part of life.
– Wendell Pierce
We know you’ve heard of Bourbon street and the French Quarter.
But outside of the Quarter, there are plenty of neighborhoods with their own story to tell – amazing restaurants, cool architecture, and a unique energy. Enjoy a Sunday afternoon under the tranquil oaks of City Park. Wander into an unassuming Treme bar on a Wednesday night and discover some of the best live music you’ve ever heard in your life.
“In New Orleans, we celebrate everything. It’s probably the only place you’ll see people dancing in a funeral home. “
— Trombone Shorty, Grammy-nominated New Orleans musician
Of course, you’ve heard about a little thing called Mardi Gras. It’s a month-long, city-wide party filled with parades, food, and music. NBD. New Orleans is a place that takes their celebrations seriously. No one will miss an excuse to rifle through their costume closet (yes, that is a thing here and you will need one) and hit a street party to mingle with new friends. With dozens of festivals each year, you will find yourself in the midst of celebrations for everything from po-boys and oysters to art and music.
“Everybody adds their culture and their flavor into this city’s gumbo.”
— President Barack Obama
Whether indulging in New Orleans classics or trying the latest from a newly opened restaurant, eating your way through the Big Easy is a challenge that most are delighted to undertake. There is plenty to satisfy the most discerning palette and the tightest budget.
You will not go hungry. We promise.
“New Orleans is dripping in beads and dotted with colorful wigs, and the air is filled with sounds of marching bands.”
— Anne Roderique-Jones, New Orleans-based freelance journalist
The language and accents heard around town are a reflection of our distinct history.
Bottom line: we say things a little differently here.
Beaucoup (boo-coo) – A LOT. As in: “I had beaucoup crawfish today.”
Gris gris (gree gree) – Voodoo good luck charm.
Lagniappe (lan-yap) – A word that means “a little something extra.”
Makin’ groceries – To buy groceries.
Neutral Ground – Known in other states as a “divider” or “median,” the neutral ground is the strip of land found running down the middle of the street. Named for the original Canal Street division between the Americans and Creoles, who did not like each other; now it’s known as one of the best places to catch a parade.
Second Line – A New Orleans musical tradition. Those who follow a brass band while dancing and enjoying the music are part of the Second Line. Second Lines are common after weddings, funerals, and festivals. So, basically every day.
Vieux Carre (voo-ca-ray) – A French term meaning “Old Quarter” and referring to the New Orleans French Quarter. Vieux Carre is the oldest part of New Orleans, dating back to 1718.
“Who Dat?”– A chant for New Orleans Saints fans: “Who dat? Who dat? Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints?”
Throws – Trinkets such as beads, cups, and doubloons tossed from the floats to the crowds during Mardi Gras parades. “Throw me something, Mister!”
Y’at – Standard greeting, as in: “Where y’at?” meaning, “Hello, how are you doing?”
Tchoupitoulas (chop-a-tool-us) – An Uptown street that runs along the Mississippi River. You can also use the abbreviation, Tchoup, pronounced “chop.”