Top 30 Slang For New Orleans – Meaning & Usage

New Orleans, with its vibrant culture and rich history, is not only known for its jazz music and delicious cuisine but also for its unique slang. From “lagniappe” to “laissez les bons temps rouler,” the language of the Big Easy is as diverse as its people. In this article, we’ve gathered the top slang words and phrases that will transport you straight to the lively streets of New Orleans. Get ready to immerse yourself in the local lingo and feel like a true NOLA native!

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1. Dressed

In New Orleans, “dressed” refers to a sandwich or po’ boy that is fully garnished or prepared with all the traditional toppings and condiments.

  • For example, you might order a roast beef po’ boy and say, “I’ll have it dressed with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayo.”
  • A local might say, “Always make sure to get your po’ boy dressed, otherwise it’s just bread and meat.”
  • When describing a sandwich, someone might say, “It’s not a true New Orleans po’ boy unless it’s fully dressed.”

2. Laissez les bon temps rouler

This is a Cajun French phrase that translates to “Let the good times roll” in English. It is a common saying in New Orleans and is often used to encourage a festive and celebratory atmosphere.

  • For instance, during Mardi Gras, you might hear someone shout, “Laissez les bon temps rouler!”
  • A local might say, “In New Orleans, we live by the motto ‘Laissez les bon temps rouler’.”
  • When inviting friends to a party, someone might say, “Come join us for a night of fun and laissez les bon temps rouler!”

3. Throw me somethin’

During Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans, “throw me somethin'” is a common phrase shouted by parade-goers to the float riders. It is a request for the riders to throw them beads, trinkets, or other items.

  • For example, a person standing on the parade route might yell, “Hey, throw me somethin’!”
  • A local might say, “If you want to catch some beads, just shout ‘throw me somethin’!”
  • When describing the excitement of Mardi Gras, someone might say, “There’s nothing quite like the thrill of yelling ‘throw me somethin’!’ and catching a prized throw.”

4. Holy Trinity

In New Orleans cuisine, the “holy trinity” refers to a combination of onions, bell peppers, and celery. It is a foundational flavor base used in many traditional dishes, such as gumbo and jambalaya.

  • For instance, a recipe might call for “sauteing the holy trinity in butter until softened.”
  • A local might say, “The holy trinity is the key to building flavor in Cajun and Creole cooking.”
  • When discussing the importance of ingredients, someone might say, “You can’t make a proper gumbo without the holy trinity.”

5. Cher

In New Orleans, “cher” is a term of endearment or a casual way to refer to a woman. It is derived from the French word for “dear” or “darling.”

  • For example, someone might say, “Hey, cher, can you pass me that gumbo?”
  • A local might say, “In New Orleans, we use ‘cher’ to show affection or camaraderie.”
  • When addressing a friend, someone might say, “What’s up, cher? How’s your day going?”

6. Snoball

A snoball is a frozen treat made from shaved ice that is flavored with various syrups. It is a popular dessert in New Orleans, especially during the hot summer months.

  • For example, “I’m craving a snoball with strawberry syrup.”
  • A local might say, “Let’s go to the snoball stand and get a snoball with condensed milk.”
  • During a conversation about favorite desserts, someone might mention, “My go-to snoball flavor is wedding cake.”

7. How’s ya mama an’ them?

This phrase is a common greeting in New Orleans that shows interest in the well-being of the person’s family and extended family.

  • For instance, someone might ask, “Hey, how’s ya mama an’ them?”
  • When catching up with an old friend, one might say, “Tell me, how’s ya mama an’ them doing?”
  • A local might use this phrase to start a conversation with a neighbor, saying, “Hey, I saw ya mama an’ them at the grocery store yesterday.”

8. Envie

In New Orleans, “envie” is a slang term derived from the French word for “envy.” It is used to describe a strong desire or craving for something.

  • For example, “I have an envie for some beignets.”
  • During a discussion about favorite foods, someone might say, “I always have an envie for gumbo.”
  • A local might express their envie for a specific drink, saying, “I’ve got a serious envie for a frozen daiquiri right now.”

9. Parish

In New Orleans, the term “parish” is used instead of “county” or “district” to refer to the local administrative divisions. It is unique to Louisiana and is a reflection of the state’s French and Spanish heritage.

  • For instance, someone might say, “I live in Jefferson Parish.”
  • When discussing local government, one might mention, “The Orleans Parish Council is responsible for making decisions within the city.”
  • A local might ask, “Which parish are you from?”

10. Gris gris

Gris gris is a term used in New Orleans to refer to a small bag or charm that is believed to have magical or protective powers. It is often associated with voodoo and is used for various purposes, such as bringing luck or warding off evil.

  • For example, “She carries a gris gris for good fortune.”
  • During a conversation about superstitions, someone might say, “I always keep a gris gris in my car for protection.”
  • A local might mention, “My grandmother gave me a gris gris to wear during important exams.”

11. Lagniappe

This term refers to a small gift or bonus item given to a customer as a token of appreciation. It can also be used to describe something unexpected or extra.

  • For example, “As a lagniappe, the chef sent out a complimentary dessert at the end of the meal.”
  • In a retail setting, a salesperson might say, “And as a lagniappe, we’re throwing in a free tote bag with your purchase.”
  • A local might say, “You never know what kind of lagniappe you’ll find at the farmers market.”

12. Po’boy

A traditional New Orleans sandwich made with French bread and filled with various meats, seafood, or vegetables. The term “po’boy” is believed to have originated during a streetcar strike when former streetcar workers opened a sandwich shop to support each other.

  • For instance, “I’m craving a shrimp po’boy for lunch.”
  • A food blogger might write, “The po’boy is a staple of New Orleans cuisine and comes in many delicious variations.”
  • A local might recommend a specific place, saying, “You have to try the roast beef po’boy from that corner shop.”

13. Throw me somethin’

This phrase is commonly heard during Mardi Gras parades when people in the crowd ask float riders to throw them beads, trinkets, or other items.

  • For example, “Hey, mister, throw me somethin’!”
  • A local might say, “When you see a float passing by, just yell ‘Throw me somethin’!'”
  • A visitor might ask, “What’s the best way to get the float riders to throw me somethin’?”

14. How’s ya mama an’ them?

This phrase is a common greeting in New Orleans and is used to ask about someone’s well-being and their extended family.

  • For instance, “Hey, Joe, how’s ya mama an’ them?”
  • A local might say, “Whenever you see someone you know, just ask ‘How’s ya mama an’ them?'”
  • A visitor might be confused and ask, “What does ‘How’s ya mama an’ them?’ mean?”

15. NOLA

This is an abbreviation for the city of New Orleans, Louisiana. It is often used in hashtags and social media posts to refer to the city.

  • For example, “Just booked my trip to NOLA for Jazz Fest!”
  • A local might say, “I love living in NOLA.”
  • A travel blogger might write, “NOLA is a vibrant city with a rich culture and history.”

16. The Big Easy

This is a popular nickname for New Orleans, referring to the city’s laid-back and easygoing atmosphere.

  • For example, “Let’s head down to The Big Easy for some jazz and delicious food.”
  • A tourist might say, “I can’t wait to experience the vibrant culture of The Big Easy.”
  • A local might mention, “The Big Easy is known for its lively festivals and parades.”

17. Crescent City

This is another nickname for New Orleans, derived from the city’s shape which resembles a crescent moon.

  • For instance, “I’m heading to the Crescent City for Mardi Gras.”
  • A travel blogger might write, “Exploring the historic neighborhoods of the Crescent City is a must.”
  • A local might say, “I love living in the Crescent City because of its rich history and diverse culture.”

18. Nawlins

This is an informal term for New Orleans, often used by locals or in a casual context.

  • For example, “Let’s grab some beignets and coffee in Nawlins.”
  • A visitor might ask, “Where can I find the best gumbo in Nawlins?”
  • A local might say, “I’ve lived in Nawlins my whole life and wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

19. The Crescent City

This is another name for New Orleans, referencing the city’s shape and its location along the Mississippi River.

  • For instance, “I’m taking a riverboat cruise along the Mississippi in the Crescent City.”
  • A history buff might mention, “The Crescent City has a fascinating blend of French, Spanish, and American influences.”
  • A local might say, “There’s always something exciting happening in the Crescent City.”

20. The City That Care Forgot

This is a nickname for New Orleans, often used to describe the city’s carefree and laissez-faire attitude.

  • For example, “Welcome to The City That Care Forgot, where the good times roll.”
  • A visitor might say, “I love the laid-back vibe of The City That Care Forgot.”
  • A local might mention, “Living in The City That Care Forgot means embracing a slower pace of life.”

21. The City of Cajun Cuisine

New Orleans is famous for its delicious Cajun cuisine, which includes dishes like gumbo, jambalaya, and crawfish étouffée. The city is known as the “City of Cajun Cuisine” because of its rich culinary traditions influenced by French, African, and Native American cultures.

  • For example, a foodie might say, “I can’t wait to visit the City of Cajun Cuisine and try some authentic gumbo.”
  • A traveler might ask, “Where’s the best place to experience the flavors of the City of Cajun Cuisine?”
  • A chef might share a recipe, saying, “To make a traditional jambalaya, start by sautéing onions, bell peppers, and celery in a cast-iron skillet.”

22. The City of Historic Architecture

New Orleans is known for its beautiful and unique architecture, which reflects its diverse cultural heritage. The city is often referred to as the “City of Historic Architecture” because of its stunning buildings, including the iconic French Quarter with its colorful Creole townhouses and historic mansions.

  • For instance, a tourist might say, “I’m excited to explore the City of Historic Architecture and admire the beautiful buildings.”
  • An architecture enthusiast might comment, “The City of Historic Architecture has some of the most impressive ironwork balconies.”
  • A historian might explain, “The City of Historic Architecture showcases a mix of French, Spanish, and American architectural styles.”

23. The City of Mississippi River

New Orleans is located along the Mississippi River, which has played a significant role in the city’s history and culture. The city is often referred to as the “City of Mississippi River” because of its close connection to the river and the vibrant riverfront area.

  • For example, a nature lover might say, “I can’t wait to take a boat tour and explore the City of Mississippi River.”
  • A local resident might recommend, “Don’t miss the sunset views from the City of Mississippi River. They’re breathtaking.”
  • A historian might share a fun fact, saying, “The City of Mississippi River was a major port for steamboats in the 19th century.”

24. The City of Hurricane Katrina

New Orleans is often associated with Hurricane Katrina, one of the most devastating natural disasters in U.S. history. The city is referred to as the “City of Hurricane Katrina” because of the impact the hurricane had on its residents and the subsequent efforts to rebuild and recover.

  • For instance, a survivor might say, “I’m proud to be part of the Resilient City and see how far we’ve come since Hurricane Katrina.”
  • A community organizer might discuss, “The City of Hurricane Katrina has implemented various measures to improve disaster preparedness.”
  • A journalist might write, “The Resilient City has become a symbol of strength and determination in the face of adversity.”

25. The City of French Quarter

The French Quarter is a historic neighborhood in New Orleans known for its lively atmosphere, vibrant music scene, and iconic architecture. The city is often referred to as the “City of French Quarter” because of the neighborhood’s significant cultural and historical importance.

  • For example, a traveler might say, “I can’t wait to explore the City of French Quarter and experience the lively street performances.”
  • A music lover might comment, “The City of French Quarter is home to some of the best jazz clubs in the world.”
  • A local resident might recommend, “Don’t miss the beignets at Café du Monde when you visit the City of French Quarter.”

26. The City of Steamboat Natchez

This nickname refers to New Orleans as the city of the famous steamboat named Natchez. The steamboat is a symbol of the city’s rich history and its connection to the Mississippi River.

  • For example, a local might say, “Let’s take a ride on the City of Steamboat Natchez and enjoy the beautiful views of the river.”
  • When talking about New Orleans, a visitor might mention, “I love the charm and nostalgia of the City of Steamboat Natchez.”
  • A tour guide might explain, “The City of Steamboat Natchez offers a unique way to experience the history and culture of New Orleans.”

27. The City of Audubon Zoo

This slang term refers to New Orleans as the city of the Audubon Zoo, which is a popular attraction in the city. It highlights the city’s vibrant wildlife and the importance of conservation.

  • For instance, a local might say, “I’m taking my kids to the City of Audubon Zoo this weekend.”
  • When discussing New Orleans as a tourist destination, someone might mention, “Don’t miss the City of Audubon Zoo during your visit.”
  • A travel blogger might write, “The City of Audubon Zoo is a must-see for animal lovers visiting New Orleans.”

28. The City of City Park

This term highlights the significance of City Park in New Orleans. City Park is a large urban park that offers various recreational activities and is known for its beautiful landscapes.

  • For example, a local might say, “Let’s have a picnic in the City of City Park.”
  • When discussing outdoor activities in New Orleans, someone might mention, “The City of City Park is the perfect place for a morning jog.”
  • A nature enthusiast might say, “I love exploring the City of City Park and discovering its hidden gems.”

29. The City of Frenchmen Street

This nickname refers to New Orleans as the city of Frenchmen Street, which is a renowned street known for its live music scene and vibrant nightlife. It showcases the city’s rich musical heritage and cultural diversity.

  • For instance, a local might say, “Let’s go out and enjoy the music on the City of Frenchmen Street tonight.”
  • When discussing the music scene in New Orleans, someone might mention, “The City of Frenchmen Street is a must-visit for live music lovers.”
  • A music journalist might write, “The City of Frenchmen Street is the heart and soul of New Orleans’ music culture.”

30. The City of Magazine Street

This slang term refers to New Orleans as the city of Magazine Street, which is a popular shopping destination known for its unique boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants. It highlights the city’s vibrant retail scene and local entrepreneurship.

  • For example, a local might say, “I’m going to spend the day exploring the shops on the City of Magazine Street.”
  • When discussing shopping in New Orleans, someone might mention, “Don’t miss the City of Magazine Street for one-of-a-kind finds.”
  • A fashion blogger might write, “The City of Magazine Street is a shopaholic’s paradise in New Orleans.”
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