'NOLA-ier Than Thou': 27 Ways You’re Being an Insufferable New Orleanian
It is an accepted fact that, for the most part, people in New Orleans are fun-loving, friendly, generally happy, helpful, and quite often funky folks. It’s a big part of what makes this town so special and enjoyable to visit. That said, every city has at least a couple of try-hard bad apples in the bushel, and while NOLA has fewer than certain other places (which we won’t name... *cough* Atlanta *cough*), they still exist in the Crescent City. Don’t know if you’re being one of them? Here are 27 good ways to tell...
You play the “numbers game”
We’re glad you have six Muses shoes, four Zulu coconuts, one 20-year-old St. Joseph’s bean, nine Jazz Fest posters, and 11 doubloons from the Rex parade of 1963. But what are we supposed to do with this information? Having these items is neat, but remember: being a New Orleanian is not a competition. It’s a party. We’re all in this together.
You’re overly vocal about how long you’ve been here
To paraphrase the immortal words of Margaret Thatcher, “Being a New Orleanian is like being a woman. If you need to prove it, you’re not one.” Having been here six years or 16 doesn’t make a difference to the natives, pal. It’s just important that you’re here and that you call this beautiful mess home.
You have a “brass pass” and make sure everyone knows it
Ah, the golden ticket of Jazz Fest, allowing you access to VIP areas and entry to every day of the festival. It’s great you scored one (or had the dough to spend on it), but there’s no need to keep reminding us of that fact, mostly because we’re jealous. By the way, did you know that a brass pass is transferrable from one person to another on any day of the fest? Hint, hint.
Saying you’re “from New Orleans” when you clearly did not grow up here
It’s amazing how often people try to pull this one off. If someone here asks you where you’re from, and you say “New Orleans,” they will follow up this line of inquiry with, “Where did you go to school?” If your answer is “Tulane,” you’re going to get called out (we meant high school, buddy). You moved here from somewhere else, and now NOLA is your home. Great! Glad to have you. But stop masquerading as a native already.
Being possessive about a certain bar or music venue
There was a time when you were new to this place, too (even if that meant when you were in high school), so don’t get all huffy when someone new comes along and has the audacity to love it, too. Unless you actually own the joint, it’s not “yours,” brah.
Complaining about your neighbors who just moved here from elsewhere
See above. We need all the good people we can get. And if you’re neighbors aren’t good people, then complain about *that.* If they have a meth lab next door, that’s one thing, but there’s no need to act smugly superior because you came here to rebuild houses in the Lower Ninth in 2006 and decided to stay, and they moved here from Philadelphia two weeks ago. (Note: feel free to complain about neighbors if they are Falcons fans.)
Only wearing NOLA-themed T-shirts
We have buckets of love for local shops like Dirty Coast and Fleurty Girl. But c’mon, you have to have at least one item of clothing that doesn’t have a nostalgic, prideful, or pithy graphic about the Big Easy on it.
Never leaving your neighborhood
Especially if you live in the Marigny or Bywater. There are really cool things going on in Mid-City, you know. Similarly, if you’re an Uptowner and never get past the French Quarter, you’re in the same boat.
Never leaving New Orleans for any reason whatsoever
It’s decidedly important to get out of town every now and again, even if it’s just during a mandatory hurricane evacuation (seriously, when the mayor and governor tell the entire city to GTFO, you should definitely do that). Hit a casino in Biloxi, drive to Memphis to visit Graceland and get some BBQ, or spend a few days at the beach on the Florida panhandle. As long as you come back, you’re all good.
Passing off a Saints jersey as a Mardi Gras costume
We see it every year, and we’re calling you on it. It’s Fat Tuesday, for crying out loud! Invest in at least one decent wig. Perhaps a black and gold one to go with that jersey? And maybe a tutu? And some oversized novelty sunglasses...
Insisting that red beans and rice is only acceptable on Mondays
Yes, red beans on Monday is a hallowed NOLA tradition. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to lose all of your local cred for enjoying or cooking that dish on a Thursday.
Not waving people through in traffic
This might not be the most civilized place in the world, but at least New Orleanians are good at the ole traffic wave, and we respect it in return. If you rush to jump ahead of us when it’s clearly our turn to merge in, you’re being a schmuck.
Going to every. Single. Festival.
You’re making us exhausted just thinking about it. Take a break this weekend, why don’t you?
Looking down your nose at places that are not your neighborhood
Particularly if you’re an East Banker. We know what you think of Metairie, or Kenner, or Slidel, or the West Bank. Quit being such an ass about it.
Covering your entire vehicle with NOLA bumper stickers
When it comes to local pride, a single statement says more than, say, 20.
Playing the role of “eccentric New Orleanian”
Are you wearing a beret and driving a vintage convertible with two matching Dalmatians and an upright bass in the back seat? Congrats: you are officially trying too hard.
Covering your entire body with NOLA-themed tattoos
A single fleur de lis or hurricane symbol is fine (and abundantly common), but remember that tattoos are like the bumper stickers of the body-mod world. Go all-in on the inked lifestyle if you want, just vary it up a bit.
Faking the accent
There are, in fact, several New Orleans accents, and a real local can distinguish Uptown from Kenner, “Chalmatian” from Ninth Ward, and so on. But if that’s not the natural way you speak, do not, under any circumstances, pretend as though you do. Unless you’re an actor on a television show set in New Orleans, in which case, pretend harder.
Not being helpful to tourists
They can be annoying, we realize this, especially when they wear Mardi Gras beads out of season and vomit hand grenades on Bourbon St. But be nice to them, or they (and their dollars) might not want to come back.
Correcting people’s pronunciation
Ugh. If someone doesn’t know that people here say “CAL-ee-ope” or “MEL-poe-meen,” you don’t have to ‘splain it to them, Professor High and Mighty. Unless your job is to correct the pronunciation of actors appearing on television shows set in New Orleans (see above).
The unmitigated gall! Good day to you, sir. I SAID GOOD DAY.
Being “that person” during Mardi Gras
You know who we’re talking about, and if you don’t, it’s probably you. Should you want to be a really great person during Mardi Gras, here’s a good primer for you.
You’re an overly enthusiastic sports fan from “back then”
It’s cool that you’ve had your same Saints season tickets from back in the bag-head days. And also that you had season tickets to the Pelicans from when they were the Hornets, and that you have had season tickets to the Zephyrs since back when they played at UNO, and that you have season tickets to the Voodoo, and even the Brass, and you have a brick from Tulane stadium... but you don’t have to remind us of that constantly. Can’t we just get excited for this season?
Constantly name-dropping musicians
Almost everyone here has at least one good story involving the local music scene (if not, you need to get out more). But going on at length about the time you shared BBQ with Kermit Ruffins, or bought a Sazerac for Allen Toussaint, or got a high-five from Dr. John... it gets old quickly.
Talking up your NOLA game without doing your homework
It’s not just that you didn’t know alligator sausage cheesecake was a thing (it is, it’s delicious, and you can find it at Jacques-Imo’s), but when you refuse its very existence, you can hardly call yourself a real New Orleanian, now, can you?
Throwing your 2-year-old a Morris Bart-themed birthday party
Okay, we have to admit that this one is kind of awesome, and exceptionally difficult to beat when it comes to parenting NOLA-style.
Writing lists on the Internet about insufferable New Orleanians
Guilty as charged.
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