Fun Facts about New Orleans
New Orleans is known for cute colorful houses, beignets, and a French-American vibe. It has a lot of character, amazing food and plenty of photo opportunities. The city comes alive at night and you can hear music playing everywhere (probably my favorite part). I ran into a lot of quirky facts and tidbits while I was visiting, words that held different meanings in NOLA and I thought I’d share them as they’re helpful to learn before you go.
Neutral Ground – Most states would call this the “median” but not New Orleans. Neutral ground is a term originating from the mid-1800s to define a strip of land separating two sides (then it was the Americans and French). Just think of all the fun ways to use this: crossing neutral ground, don’t get stuck in neutral ground, that car stalled in neutral ground, he swerved into neutral ground…
Go-cup – Otherwise known as a to-go cup, this NOLA term is frequently used when grabbing drinks to go. And that includes alcoholic drinks. I had a local tell me that when she visited her friends in a different state, they went to a bar and she asked for a go-cup for her cocktail. You can imagine the look she got.
Po-Boy (dressed) – So what is. Po-Boy exactly and where did it come from? The term po-boy is attributed to the Martin brothers who were former streetcar operators. The streetcar workers went on strike in the early 1900s and the brothers fed them sandwiches from their restaurants (delicious roast beef & gravy sandwiches which became known as po-boys!). Today they are served all over the city and make a great lunch.
Shotgun Houses – These homes are called shotgun houses because you can shoot straight through from front door to back door. These houses are built as one big room with a doorway leading into each room. Imagine 4 rooms built in a row with a door cut out of each room. Once you enter the house from the front door, you can see straight through to the back door. This also means you might have to walk through the bedroom to get to the kitchen. An Uber driver told me his friend grew up in one and it was always awkward and annoying when he visited him because they had no privacy at all.
New Orleans vs Nawlins – There are several different pronunciations for the city: “New Orlins” “New Orleahns” (think French pronunciation) and “New Orleens”. All are acceptable forms of the world. However, most agree that Nawlins is NOT the correct way and that only tourists use that pronunciation.
Bourbon Street – I asked several locals what their thoughts on Bourbon Street were and 100% of them told me they hated it and never set foot in it. Some even told me they didn’t love the French Quarter in general and that they found it too touristy. However, I loved the French Quarter and thought it was one of the best things to do in New Orleans. That being said, I agreed with the locals about Bourbon Street. It was filthy, full of rambunctious people and a little sketchy.
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