New Orleans is renowned throughout the United States – and the rest of the world – for being a melting pot of cultures, with French, African and American influences evident throughout the city. As a result, 'the Big Easy' has developed a terminology all of its own. Here are five words and phrases you need to know before making a trip to Louisiana's largest city:
Mardi Gras, which is French for 'Fat Tuesday', is celebrated throughout the world, but the carnival is most associated with New Orleans. Large, colorful parades take place across the city's streets for up to two weeks!
Picayune is a commonly used word in New Orleans, relating to something small or particularly nit-picky; the picayune was originally a Spanish coin worth between a nickel and a dime in value. Picayune also lends its name to the city's newspaper, the Times-Picayune.
New Orleans' French Quarter is world-famous. The oldest part of the city, it's particularly popular with tourists and is home to the vibrant Bourbon Street. Locally it's known as Vieux Carre, or 'Old Square'.
Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler
Many of New Orleans' street names, traditions and architecture are heavily influenced by French culture; not surprising as it was the French who originally founded the city in 1718. Although only around 1% of the city's population now speaks French as their first language, several French idioms are still common, including Laissez les bons temps rouler, or 'let the good times roll'.
The Saints are New Orleans' professional football team. Founded in 1966, the team's name stems from the city's strong Catholic population. For years, the Saints were one of NFL's worst franchises, only notching their first play-off victory in 2000. However, in 2009, just four years after Hurricane Katrina had decimated the region and the Superdome had been used to temporarily house evacuees, the team won its first and only Superbowl.