Growing up in New Orleans is like growing up in another country. The food, culture, music, and language seem completely foreign to most of the rest of America. We drink anytime, eat rich foods, listen to great music, and enjoy waterfront views on the regular. Though local government and law enforcement are often ... less than exemplary, our day-to-day life still resembles other people's vacations.
Maybe that's why many people refer to NOLA as the northern most part of the Caribbean. Often, we have more in common with island folk than we do with people from Alabama.
Until I left NOLA to go to college in Miami, I didn't realize how unique my childhood had been and how much I would miss it. I missed the wonderful world of open containers, alligator decor, lazy days on the Lake Front, and even government corruption so obvious it was laughable. Something as normal as a walk to the corner store for a hot sausage po-boy and a Big Shot Pineapple seems like a shiny new penny when you are 800 miles away.
So like the commercials and the tourists holding up pedestrian traffic in The Quarter say, "Laissez les bon temps rouler!" If you're from here too, you know what I'm talking about. Here are 41 things every New Orleanian understands about living in one of the best cities in the world.
People Who Don't Like Jazz Confuse You
Since New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz — let it go, Chicago and New York City — natives protect and value it on a level no one else can understand. It doesn't matter if you can't personally play a note, you can't even deal with people who say they hate jazz. Do they hate sunshine too?!!
as do people who don't like Daiquiris
People from other places like daiquiris, you LOVE them. So much so, drive-thru daiquiri establishments make sense to you, as do the convoluted drinking and driving laws that make them legal. It runs deep.
Second Line Music will always make you dance
No matter where you are or what you are doing, if you hear this, you join the line and get to dancin'. Wheremy scarf and go cup?!
You Thought Mardi Gras Was National Holiday Until 6th Grade
Wait, everyone doesn't get three days off for Carnival?
You think Bead Trees are better than Christmas trees
Beads, doubloons, and cups take over your house, the sidewalk, the trees. And don't forget that Zulu coconut in the closet because someone told you it would grow.
and you've Celebrated in the Oaks
It's not weird to you that unsupervised adolescents choose to wander among a bunch of 500+ old oak trees accompanied by holiday music. It's romantic, okay?
Mr. Bingle Meant Christmas Has Begun
Seeing him on the Canal Street Maison Blanche meant the holidays were here.
When it comes to Hurricane Season, you're an expert
Ah, the time of year when everyone has a meteorology degree. You're not entirely sure what barometric pressure is, but you can mention it convincingly as you predict the storm's path. You're basically Bob Breck.
Oh It's Just a Category 1? I'll Stop at the Store For Batteries and Water
It is a way of life. Clean up and start again.
You are all too familiar with Katrina Eyes
Noun: The face people make when they find out you are from NOLA and lost everything in Hurricane Katrina.
When you see this guy, you know who he is
Other people watched The Princess and The Frog's Shadow Man thinking he was a classic movie villain. You watched thinking, Hey! I saw that guy at Tips last night!
You know the pain of crossing any bridge, especially this one
Yeah, yeah, yeah, architectural wonder, longest bridge over water in the world, blah, blah, blah. When do we get to Mandeville?
...though this one comes in a very close second
But you did it because half your friends lived on the West Bank.
You could do a celeb houses tour of the city, but you won't
You can point out the current and former homes of author Ann Rice, Brangelina, John Goodman, Trent Reznor, Sandra Bullock, Matthew McConaughey, Helen Mirren, Bob Dylan, and Lenny Kravitz, but you won't because locals never bother the celebs. That's why celebs love NOLA.
Even though you didn't go to St. Augustine, Marching 100 was your school band
You can say you're all about Kennedy or John Mac, but let's be real, St. Aug is the band everyone knows and loves.
It's normal to see school uniforms serve as everyday wear
Catholic and public school kids wore them all day, making kids like me who wore street clothes to school kinda jealous. I think they knew it.
Roaches are your Nemesis
...unless it's caterpillar season.
You have a rational fear of Non-NOLA Gumbo Cooks
“Its just like NOLA!” Yeah that’s what they all say, then you see fish tails and mushrooms floating in the pot.
You've never eaten beignets as breakfast food
They are the world's most effective end of the night hangover prophylactic, and as such, should be treated with reverence.
but you've sure eaten this wonder from Central Grocery for lunch
Pair a muffuletta with an Abita beer, and you have a damn good Sunday afternoon on the River Front.
You know Crawfish Are Mean
It's all fun and games until someone gets pinched.
and so are Killer Catfish
They eat cars...so I have been told. Oh and let's not forget there are sharks in the water, too.
A hot sausage po-boy and a Big Shot Pineapple = all you need
As previously suggested, it's the perfect meal.
and you know your First Summer Snoball MUST BE at Plum Street
Wedding cake with condensed milk — Yaaasssss!
and that Hubigs Pies are everything
You would punch someone in the face for one of these, especially now.
You kinda Hate Bourbon Street
Do you know what I witnessed two blocks away?! Ewww what just just dropped in my hair?! Ugh this is why I don't come on Bourbon.
No, you Don’t Have a Southern Accent
I don't sound like I'm from the South, because I’m not from the South. I’m from NOLA.
No, you don't live in, on, or by the bayou/swamp (unless you count Bayou St. John)
If I had a nickle for every time I've been asked that, I could buy a Prytania Street home.
It seems like Everyone is Catholic, Even the Non Catholics
You were in high school before you realized not eating red meat on Friday was only for Catholics, but you stuck with it for the catfish.
and even though you weren't Jewish, you spent hours at the JCC pool
Didn't matter what religion you were growing up in NOLA, just have fun!
You can't believe how early Clubs Close In Other Cities
At 2 a.m.?! How do you people live like this?
and you know what's at 1825 Tulane
You knew this address before you knew your own.
No matter where you lived, this was your neighborhood bookstore
Maple Street is the best shop for local books by local writers.
you know Haunted houses are a Real Estate Issue
Something to seriously consider when buying a home.
You love Taking the Streetcar Down St. Charles
Then exit at Riverbend and have breakfast at Camelia Grill.
but Magazine Street gentrification makes you angry
That new West Elm on Magazine makes you want to throw a wicker patio chair.
You know Jazz Funerals Stop Traffic
They don't happen very often, but when they do you stop to honor the dead. This is footage from my father's service.
because Everyone here is Family
The reaction when you meet someone from NOLA.
i mean, You Would Let This Guy Hold Your Baby, wouldn't you?
I <3 #9!
most of all, you live and breathe the Spirit of Louisiana
The WWL commercial still makes you emotional.