New Orleans Slang and Folklore


Dartmouth College

Russian 13: Vampires, Witches and Firebirds

Professor Victoria Somoff and Professor Mikhail Gronas

Spring 2016


Intro paragraph which explains in a coherent paragraph:

Our Group decide to explore the folklore of the city of New Orleans, Louisiana. We chose the city because we have a member who is originally from the area and has many connection with family and friends who lived or still live there. The rest of us have friends who are also from the city and our interactions with them have influenced our opinions and knowlege of the city and spurred more curiosity about New Orleans culture. The city itself is a melting pot of cultures and possesses a rich history with a combination of French, Spanish and American cultural infliuences.

We chose to examine the folk speech or slang of  New orleans because it is home to many different languages, like Cajun French, Spanish, English, and Native American languages. So, many words and terms crossover into the everyday speech of the inhabitants and form creative folk speech that is unique to the city. We also realized that the topic hasn’t been studied as well as it should have been and is unfamiliar to most of Dartmouth community.


Caitlin Flint, age 21, born and raised in Metairie, LA currently resides at Dartmouth College.
Katelyn Jones, age 21, from Atlanta, GA, currently resides at Dartmouth College.
Cameron Smith, age 20, from Bristow, VA, currently resides at Dartmouth College.







“Brake Tag”

“Cafe au’ Lait”



“Cold Drink/Coke”


“Down in the Parish”


“For” Versus “At”


“K&B purple”


“Lil’ Dip”

” Making Groceries”

“Parrain and Marraine”

“Maw Maw”

“mama n’ dem/ mam n’ dem”

“Neutral Ground”




“Rally Possum”

“Second Line”

“Shotgun House”


“Stand in the Wedding”

“The Interstate”

“The Parish”



“Where Y’at”

“Who Dat”





All eight of the informants were native to New Orleans or transplants who covered a couple of different neighborhoods in the city.  Informants ranged between the ages of 18 and 60 which allowed the consideration of words used by a certain age range of people, as the younger people also referred to what they listen to parents and grandparents say.  All of the interviews were either audio or visual as hearing the informant was a key part to much of the slang as it has French origins and definitions but the change in pronunciation is what makes it slang.  The fact that some of the informants did not know each was interesting in words such as po’boy where nearly every person talked about it.  The range of informants allowed for the collection of a substantial amount of terms that could be considered slang.

New Orleans slang is as unique as the city.  Many of the words have a French influence as the city was controlled by the French for a long part of its history, but now those descendants have come to be known as Cajuns.  Their words, most of which in the list are French words with a different pronunciation, have permeated the language and created a unique set of slang. Oter words such as “bayou” and “lagniappe” show the influence of the Native Americans who lived in New Orleans before anone else .  Then other words are directly related to the history of New Orleans and the circumstances of the people who live there.  The combination of all these words created a unique set of slang to study and collect.


New orleans Slang is such because…. conclusions about informants…. conclusions about slang



Collectors: Caitlin Flint, Katelyn Jones, Cameron Smith

Release Forms

Keywords: New Orleans, Slang