New Orleans Man Infuriated By Tourist’s Instruction On How To Pronounce ‘New Orleans’

French-Quarter

N’AWLINS, La.—A New Orleans, or N’awlins, resident created a disturbance in the French Quarter last weekend after a tourist attempted to instruct the Crescent City native on how to correctly pronounce the name of his hometown.

Witnesses to the lengthy shouting match said the debacle began when a tourist believed to be from Utah flagged down a man in chef pants on Decatur Street and asked for advice on finding “the best crayfish poor-boy in N’awlins.”

The local man, already annoyed at the word “crayfish,” told the tourist he could find a pretty decent “CRAWfish PO-boy at various places in New ORLEANS.”

That’s when the discussion became tense, witnesses said.

While the tourist deferred to the local man’s judgment on how to pronounce “crawfish” and “po-boy,” the Utah man staunchly defended his pronunciation of the city’s name.

You mean ‘N’AWLINS,’” he told the local, causing nearby witnesses to pause in anticipation of a colorful “discussion.”

The local man, visibly agitated, noted that he “has actually (expletive) lived in this (expletive) city his entire life.”

But the locals pronounce it ‘N’awlins,” the visitor insisted, according to a live-Tweeted account of the debate (hasthtag AuthenticNawlins).

Other tourists leapt to the Utah man’s defense.

I’ve watched all the seasons of ‘Treme,’” a woman from Iowa told reporters. “I even watched the fourth one. I know what a ‘second line’ is and I‘ve seen one of those Mardi Gras guys in the feathers outside my Airbnb rental. Locals say ‘N’awlins.’”

A passerby nodded in agreement, pointing at his T-shirt, which read “WE BE JAZZ’N IN N’AWLINS,” as evidence.

See?” he said. “I’m here from Ohio, but this is a local T-shirt from a local store.”

Another woman, who had seen several episodes of “K-Ville,” agreed on the “N’Awlins” pronunciation, though she admitted that she had not attended any gumbo parties to confirm that pronunciation as accurate.

Several Midwestern viewers of the 2005 hit film “The Skeleton Key,” said they had seen a witch doctor working at a convenience store “deep in the heart of Terrebonne Parish,” and the voodoo man had pronounced the city’s name as “New Ohr-Leens.”

The shouting match, which drew a crowd, ended when the local man grew exhausted of arguing and agreed to start pronouncing the name as “N’Awlins,” at least in the Quarter, to give tourists a more authentic experience of the city.

But I will never say ‘crayfish,’” he said.

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35 thoughts on “New Orleans Man Infuriated By Tourist’s Instruction On How To Pronounce ‘New Orleans’

  1. Hilarious!–the hubby of the blonde character on Criminal Minds always says “N’awlins” & has an accent so obnoxious that I’m surprised the citizens of LA haven’t boycotted the show. But, PushPole, I must ask a favor…I have a birthday coming up. Could you write an expose of the show “Cajun Justice” for me? I mean, is the whole thing staged, or are there really folks in Terrebonne Parish who fight over roadkill & stray alligators? Are there truly residents who call the cops because a wraith flew through her barn & spooked the livestock? And are the deputies for real? Please–an inquiring middle-aged Canadian needs to know!

    PS–Been to LA 4x–twice for Mardi Gras, once for a “conference” where most of the meetings & panels were strangely empty, & once to visit an old friend who needed some help, but that’s a whole ‘nother story….

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      • We’re NOT frikkin’ Cajuns either! They live in Lafayette. New Orleans has enough Cajun history to fill the back of a match book. We’re French… or Creole (Creola).

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      • To Ken, Cajuns are from all over Southern Louisiana not just Lafayette. I was born and raised in Lafourche parish and I promise it’s 100% cajun there just an hour southwest of New Orleans. Milan and calliope, it kills me to hear people pronounce those words around here.

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    • cajun justice is as fake as it can be. im from terrebonne parish. i have heard first hand from cops that everything on the show was staged. i know people who were “hired” to get in trouble or get caught doing crimes just to make the show more interesting. it is an embarassment to anyone who lives down here.

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      • Awww–it’s staged? That comes as a huge surprise alright–would STILL love to read a review of it from L. Ron, funniest guy I know 🙂 I don’t think you need be worried about folks thinking poorly of Terrebonne Parish though–we all know “reality shows” are the furthest thing from reality….There ARE weirdos in every community, and I could ALMOST buy that a cop thought he had a voodoo curse that he needed Madame Fatima to remove. However, no matter how jaded your view of the South (and I live in the American South now—looong story) the two neighbours fighting over roadkill b/c “times is hard” was just too much. I work & travel in some areas that are pretty blighted, but nobody’s going to eat something dead off the highway while there’s Ramen, or good huntin’ & fishin’ (and yeah, they say it just like that here.)

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    • As someone who lives in Terrebonne Parish I can tell you that MOST of what you see on “Cajun Justice” is grossly exaggerated! That being said, there are weirdos in every community! You will also find that the majority of the people who are from New Orleans DON’T pronounce it N’awlins. They also don’t have those highly exaggerated accents either but that also depends on what parish they are from! The last thing I would do as a tourist, however, would be to argue with a local as to how the city name is pronounced! That’s a good way to get yourself beat up!

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    • Cajun justice is crap, so is swamp people. I live in Houma, LA, in the middle of Terrebonne, and just 4 miles from where skeleton key was filmed, and it’s Def not accurate. Call it N’awlins and we’ll all know you’re a tourist. Seen this before though, as until I was 15 I lived 15 mins from the shore in Jersey, and the show Jersey Shore was false too. All staged to attract viewers who know no better.

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    • Unfortunately, what is meant to be a “funny” story, is no longer funny…AT ALL! Not only have the encroachers LITERALLY taken over our city, complete with red carpet treatment by our government, but they REALLY DO think they know MORE about OUR city & what’s best for us;and, they don’t hesitate to “correct or inform” you…u DUMB, LOCAL HEATHENS!

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    • It’s not the tourists! We’re used to them & they support us by visiting, it’s the “new post Katrina ‘N’Awlins’ residents…all we can do is shake our heads!

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  2. It is very infuriating when a tourist tries to tell a local how to pronounce certain words and names when they have no clue other than what the tourist industry wants you to know. Most locals pronounce New Orleans (New Or-lens or New Or-leens not N’Awlins. The term N’Awlins is a tourist attraction and that’s it. It not a local term. And for the tourist from Ohio that authentic shirt was just a ploy to get you to spend money. And all those shoes everyone keeps referring to they hardly even come close to having anyone talk with an authentic New Orleans accent or even pronounce words correctly. It’s an embarrassment to our city!!!

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  3. I’ve lived in Nu Awlins all of my 62 years. I’ve never lived anywhere else or been out of the city for more than 2 weeks on vacation.

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  4. We should never, never, never alter the pronunciation of ANYTHING to suit tourists. This is not FREAKIN’ Disney World! It is New Orleans, not N’Awlins or anything else. If they want to say it otherwise fine, but DO NOT argue with natives (who are actually your hosts). How insulting. From Utah you say? PLEASE! They don’t know spit!

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  5. So he agreed to pronounce it a way he normally wouldn’t as a native of the city, simply to give tourists what they have learned from TV to be the “authentic” New Orleans experience? Well slap a tourist and call me crazy. You think authentic is what you saw on Treme, K-Ville, and The Skeleton Key? Thank GOD The Big Easy isn’t at theaters right now…. we’d be looking to tar and feather Dennis Quaid.

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  6. Ok, I’m just gonna throw dis out dere for nostalgia…… If you are a visitor…pay attention…..if you are a true local, it will give you a lil laugh. (From my Momma) “hey, you boogalees (kids) come on across the neutral ground and get ova here on da banquet….go in da house n wash ya hands in da zinc….your daddy’s gonna change the earl in na caw, so we can go make groceries……we goin by my Momma n nem to berl some shrimps….ya Nannan and Parrann are common too…get cha flip flops on, n lets go!” We can speak correctly, and we DO! But dis is what I grew wit……and by the way, WE say. New Awlins……so nah…..who dat????? WE DAT! Hope ya got a laugh

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    • I’m a transplant but I caught all that except for banquet, mind explaining it?
      I was lucky enough that when I moved to LA, before moving to NOLA, I had a friend tell me that in no certain terms, if I ever came to this city was I to pronounce it Nawlins, or I would be instantly branded a tourist.

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      • Hi Saracie, (love your name)
        When we were growing up the banqet, pronounced banket, was the sidewalk. Spellcheck made it banquet. Sorry I missed it, but that’s a very old term for sidewalk. I know of no other origin than my Momma, and the Ladies of the 7th ward.

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    • This is the BEST of all. I’m not from NOLA but have family from there, visit year round and family in Haiti. I can just hear the Creole accent as she speaks ❤ ❤

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  7. The native should have explained how our own Frank Davis got that term into the tourist dialect. When he started Naturally N’Awlins for WWL TV to was for amusement because Frank didn’t actually pronouce it like that what he spoke. I guess everyone from every place in the US has a complaint about the way Hollywood has portrayed their city, state or town. It’s really not worth the breath!!

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