Originally when I decided to write a blog it was on places I have lived and the things I learned there. But, upon starting a list of the states and ALL the things we learned I
quickly figured out that you and I would be a year older before I finished writing it and
you attempted to read it. So, rather than short change everyone especially the states I lived in, I decided to pick one move and talk about that. Please come with me now to the state of Louisiana, specifically New Orleans and the surrounding suburbs.
The Dean of Allied Health at Louisiana State University was looking for a Director of their Electroencephalographic Program. He was in town and asked me to come and chat with him. At the end of the meeting I was packing up my family, selling my home and in May we left for New Orleans. I figured May and Miami versus May in New Orleans, what could the difference in weather possibly be??
That first morning I stepped out of my door and couldn’t get my breath, literally, the air
was too heavy to breath, my polyester clothes immediately became soaked through and arriving at work I looked like I had walked in a rain storm. I noticed all the men dressed in three piece suits and the ladies in dresses, panty hose , gloves and hats. Who says one doesn’t become acclimated to the weather we move to?
The next apex to climb was language. Oh yes, they speak English but it was foreign to my ears. When getting instructions to go somewhere: It’s located on the left Banquet (BANKET) the sign is on the Neutral Ground, (translation, left sidewalk, on the median strip). People tell you that after work they have to Make Groceries, and when they get home they will Save Groceries and their children will Save their Toys. Translation: buying groceries, putting away their toys. After you have made friends you will receive what you first perceive to be random calls saying I’m passing by your house. Translation: they are coming for a visit.
Finding the street that the grocery store is on is a feat. The first thing to learn is that you
can’t get there from here, unless you do exactly what the locals tell you, no matter how insane it sounds. Reason? Barely any roads go straight through; they are all interrupted by Bayous so it’s a game of Twister. The natives have a definite way of pronouncing words. The accent is always on the first syllable. So cement becomes SEAment, ambulance becomes AMBUlence, orange and purple I wouldn’t even try to spell for you phonetically. The street the store is on is called CHOPatoolis, even though the map you are looking at is clearly marked Tchopatoulouis. When you get to the grocers you will by purchase coffee with chicory in it and receive your change in SILVERdimes. (pronounced as one word ex: I have 2 nickles and a silverdime)
But while you are enjoying a Beigne (pronounced Benyaa) at the Cafe Dumont (dont pronounce the “t”) the kind folks will chat with you about how their sister kotched a: baby, flu, TB etc. Before the day is over hopefully you will have received some lagniappe; (Lanyap: a little something extra).
Final thoughts, Home owners who buy homes in Metairie, Kenner or surrounding areas must also have a Pirogue (P-roge)in their yard for a big rainy day and you have to get to the Grocery store, and Lord forbid foolish truckers who create wakes going by the good citizens’ homes run the risk of being shot by the owners who are sitting on their porches with shotguns aimed and ready.
Final Advice/warning, if you are new to the area and decide to take in a St. Patrick’s Day Parade wear a Hard Hat to protect you from the flying cabbages, carrots & potatoes flying through the air from the passing floats so that you can go home and make an Irish Stew.
If you are ever in our neighborhood…come on in for a visit.