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Top 10 Facts People from New Orleans Want You to Know

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Savannah Sher

Script written by Savannah Sher

When you’re heading to this great American city, remember to "Laissez les bons temps rouler!" or "Let the good times roll!". From their accent, to their local delicacies, to their unique sense of direction, these are some facts you should know before travelling to the Big Easy. WatchMojo counts down the Top 10 Facts People from New Orleans Want You to Know.

Special thanks to our user boxtroll for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Facts+People+From+New+Orleans+Want+You+To+Know.

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Script written by Savannah Sher

Top 10 Facts People from New Orleans Want You to Know


When you’re heading to this great American city, remember to "Laissez les bons temps rouler!" or "Let the good times roll!". Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Facts People fromNew Orleans Want You to Know.

For this list, we’re counting down the most interesting insider facts about this historic city so you don’t embarrass yourself in front of the locals.

#10: The New Orleans Accent Is NOT What You've Heard in the Movies


How do you imagine a New Orleans accent? Vaguely Southern probably, similar to people from Alabama or Georgia, right? Well, those sorts of assumptions will not go over well with New Orleans locals. The residents of this city have a very distinct way of speaking that may surprise you. Despite the accents of their surrounding areas, the dialect and speech patterns of New Orleans are totally unique. It almost sounds more like a Brooklyn accent than a Southern drawl. How did this come to be? Your guess is as good as ours!


#9: You Really Need to Try the Local Delicacies


New Orleans may be known for its party and drinking scene, but just as important to its culture is the city’s culinary prowess. There’s a reason so many famous chefs and foodies hail from here - it’s a city with a deep love for food. Some of the most famous local treats are beignets, which are powdered deep fried donuts, and of course cajun and creole staples like jambalaya and gumbo. You’ll also want to be sure to grab a po-boy while you’re in town, which is kind of like a sub, but is typically filled with deep fried seafood.


#8: They Don't Give Directions Using North, South, East or West


Though the city of New Orleans is oriented geographically to be pretty much in line with the four cardinal points, and despite the fact that the city was built on a relatively well organized grid... using North, South, East and West toorient yourself won’t get you very far here. Locals have instead come up with their own cardinal points of Uptown, Downtown, River and Lake. You’ll out yourself as a tourist immediately if you ask how many blocks East you have towalk to find a certain point of interest, so when you first arrive, try to orient yourself the New Orleans way.


#7: Even Locals Are Afraid of Driving into a Canal or Bayou


If you’ve seen New Orleans on a map, you’ll know that the city is pretty much surrounded by water. It’s not an island, but it’s bordered by Lake Pontchartrain, the Mississippi river and Lake Borgne. Beyond that, there are tons of little waterways that snake their way around the area. This is one of the reasons why Hurricane Katrina was so devastating for the region. Even on a normal day though, you’ve got to be careful around those winding bends because more than one car has found itself submerged over the years. And you surely don’t want to meet one of the local residents.

#6: Their Funeral & Burial Traditions Are...Unique


Because of all that water, burying dead bodies simply can’t be done like it is almost everywhere else on Earth. So New Orleans residents have had to come up with their own traditions when it comes to cemeteries and funerals. Ifyou’ve seen a New Orleans cemetery, you’ll have noticed that almost everything is above ground in ornate mausoleums. This is the practical part, but culturally they also treat honoring the dead a little differently. Their funerals have a much more celebratory tone, with the jazz funeral being popular for many.


#5: You Can Probably Skip Bourbon Street


Unless you’re a frat boy or trying to have a raucous bachelorette party, most visitors would probably be best off if they didn’t bother making the trip to Bourbon Street. The city is known for its nightlife, but if you’re looking for an authentic local experience, you’re unlikely to find it here. The area is overrun with tourists, and after dark they’re drunk, sloppy and oftentimes belligerent. Not to mention, the whole street carries the distinct aroma of public urination. Nearby Frenchman Street keeps you close to the action, but also offers an experience closer to the real vibe of the city.


#4: New Orleans Is IN the South Geographically, But it Is NOT "the South"


When you think of “The South”, what comes to mind? Heavy accents? Southern hospitality? Larry the Cable Guy? With its distinct atmosphere and personality, New Orleans is proudly distinct from most of the traditions of the South, and many residents resent being grouped in with other geographically southern cities that they don’t feel akin to. It has been called “a Northern annexation of Haiti”, because it borrows so heavily from that culture, rather than fitting in with its more immediate neighbors. Even compared to the rest of Louisiana, this city has an ethos that is all its own.


#3: Locals Actually Love Mardi Gras


It would be easy to assume that a city that hosts a huge gathering of drunk partiers once a year may have grown tired of the tradition, but this is not the case in New Orleans. Locals continue to embrace the customs of Mardi Gras. But here’s one insider tip: some claim that the best parties actually happen in the days leading up to the big holiday, when there are fewer tourists around. So if you want to experience Mardi Gras the way locals do, try to find an in with someone who lives there.


#2: Jazz Wasn't the Only Cool Thing Invented in New Orleans

One of the world’s most popular card games actually has its roots in New Orleans. To be totally clear... no one knows for sure where poker was actually invented, but in terms of its origins in North America, many point to this city as the place it all got started. French settlers brought over a card game called poque, which is strikingly similar to the poker we know and love today. Just like modern poker, bluffing was a big part of poque, and in its most traditional form, three cards were dealt.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

It's Legal to Drink Outside (As Long As You Have a Go Cup)!



Locals Are Super Friendly & WILL Randomly Talk to You - Don't Panic!!!


The Term WHO DAT! is a Noun


#1: It's Pronounced "New OAR-linz"


If you want to put a big target on your back that says “tourist”, just try calling it “New Or-LEENZ”. In fact, you may need a pronunciation guide for this city, because there’s more to get confused about than just its name. Try saying Terpsichore (“TERP-suh-core”) or Melpomene (“MEL-poe-meen”) and see how well you fare. Much of the confusion about this is based on the city’s French origins, which is where many of the local terms come from. The thing is though, many residents do not speak any french, and the resulting dialect is totally distinct, so even Francophones are likely to have trouble deciphering some of these words.
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