Simple Ways to Tell New Orleans Transplants From Locals
Let’s face it: the allure of New Orleans is pretty strong. In the famous words often attributed to Tennessee Williams, “America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.” Not to knock Cleveland, but The Crescent City does have a unique magnetism, and the steady influx of transplants here is no surprise. There are, however, distinct differences between native New Orleanians and your average Johnny-Come-Live-Here-Lately. Here are the ones that tend to stick out.
Transplants: Think it’s a perfectly lovely idea to take a nice long stroll home through the Treme at 3am.
Natives: It’s Uber-o’clock, because we are not messing around with that.
Transplants: Just “show up” to view a Mardi Gras parade
Natives: Have a game plan in place, involving timing, strategic viewing locations, the precise amount of beer, and, if there are kids involved, definitely a ladder.
Transplants: Get dismally drenched by a summer storm that comes out of NOWHERE at 3pm.
Natives: Never leave the house in late summer afternoon without essentially expecting to be drenched.
Transplants: Thumb their noses in disdain at any chain restaurant.
Natives: Know and respect the divine institution that is Popeyes.
Transplants: Refuse to buy po'boys at, ugh, gas stations.
Natives: Keep a mental list of where best to refuel themselves and their car at the same time.
Transplants: Would rather die than so much as pass through Jefferson Parish, unless it’s to get to the airport.
Natives: Know that Metairie has some of the best seafood and sandwiches in the Greater New Orleans Area (shout out to you Parran’s and R&O!).
Transplants: Always call restaurants for reservations. It just makes sense, right?
Natives: Know exactly which local eateries always keep a few spots available for walk-ins.
Transplants: Shop for ingredients at Whole Foods.
Natives: “Make groceries” at “Da Rouse” or Dorignac’s.
Natives: Will generally tell you exactly how long they’ve lived here only if specifically asked.
Transplants: Update you EVERY. THREE. MINUTES.
Transplants: Only eat red beans and rice on Mondays.
Natives: Know that any day of the week is acceptable for red beans... except maybe Fridays, which is for white beans. Duh.
Transplants: Whine about the humidity.
Natives: Whine about the humidity (seriously, it’s like Satan’s butt crack down here sometimes).
Natives: Know the names, writing-styles, and often the political leanings of local journalists, particularly when it comes to weather, politics, The Saints, and especially food.
Transplants: What’s wrong with the New York Times?
Transplants: Pick at crawfish tentatively and treat 'em like dainty finger food.
Natives: Will sloppily devour a veritable mountain of mudbugs as fast as you can say “suck the heads.”
Natives: Recognize the following people: Bobby Hebert, Margaret Orr, Al Copeland, Angela Hill, Tom Benson, Frank Davis, Morris Bart, Edwin Edwards, Ricky Jackson, and “The Special Man.” They also know what “Fight the Uglies” means, and can finish the following commercial jingle: “Rosenberg’s, Rosenberg’s... ”
Transplants: “Uhhh... lemme Google that.”
Natives: Know how to make a proper roux (blonde, dark, and in-between) from scratch without burning it once.
Transplants: Use prepared roux from a can they got at the store.
Natives: Are aware of the precise locations, almost down to the GPS coordinates, of every major pothole in their neighborhood (and likely other ‘hoods, as well).
Transplants: Have insane car-repair and towing bills.
Transplants: Go to Cafe du Monde for beignets and cafe au lait.
Natives: Know that Cafe du Monde is great, but Morning Call is really where it’s at.
Transplants: Arrive at Jazz Fest without a pre-chosen parking spot, or worse-still, pay for parking.
Natives: Have all streets near the Fairgrounds mapped out like the Maginot Line.
Natives: Know why wearing shrimping boots to Jazz Fest is always a good idea.
Transplants: Get their feet caked in mud and horse manure because they wore flip flops.
Transplants: Have never been to a Saints game in the Superdome.
Natives: “Go to church on Sunday.”
Transplants: Enjoy the work of Scott Bakula and the cast of NCIS: NOLA.
Natives: Honestly suspect that those accents are a plot to make us drive oyster knives into our ears.
Transplants: Give up on our boys in black and gold during a losing season.
Natives: Know the pain, grew up with the pain, and will never refuse “to believe.” Because there’s always next season.
Transplants: Will “break up” with NOLA when things get rough, never to return.
Natives: Might go away for a spell, but home is always home. Period.
Natives: Have a sense of humor about lists like this.
Transplants: “UGH, GET OUT OF MY CITY!!!”
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Scott Gold is a writer in New Orleans, and yes, he's actually from New Orleans. Follow his native-son NOLA ramblings on Twitter @scottgold.