8 Tips for "New" New Orleanians

19:00 August 24, 2015
By: Leith Tigges

Most people will argue that if you were born in New Orleans, you’ll be here forever. Even those who were raised here and then later moved away, or spent much of their lives elsewhere, end up back in NOLA for good. It’s hard to keep away from this city, even if you’re not really from here. But for those who are new to the area, it’s important to understand that there’s a lot to learn. New Orleans is like no other city, and it has a whole different set of rules and traditions to take part in and enjoy. The natives won’t judge you if you’re a little clueless, but they might make you drink a bit because of it. 

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1. Explore

When I was newbie to New Orleans, one of the most efficient ways for me to navigate surrounding neighborhoods was to take a long walk, ride my bike, or just hop in the car and go for a drive. Discover all the nooks and crannies of the French Quarter and wander beneath the oak trees in the Garden District. There are many areas in this city to familiarize yourself with, so go ahead and discover your favorite. 

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2. Take advantage of the go-cup

This one still blows my mind. My favorite thing is when family or friends come to visit and are appalled when offered a go-cup for their cocktail at dinner. We’ve paid the check, finished the food, but there’s still lots to drink. What do you do? Take it with you. Yep, it’s a real thing. One of the many wonders of New Orleans. 

 

3. Keep track of the lingo

New Orleans has a slew of its own words that would not make any sense anywhere else. As a new resident, it’s important to become at least a bit familiar with words such as lagniappe and neutral ground. You’ve got to learn what a shotgun house is and how to pronounce Tchoupitoulas. Trust me on this one. 

 

4. Eat, drink, repeat 

Snoballs. Gumbo. Crawfish. Cocktails. There’s not a single eating establishment in this city that doesn’t offer at least one of these. Take advantage of this and indulge. Go to every crawfish boil and festival that the city has to offer (and there are a lot). It’s a known fact that the South goes all-out in terms of food, and there are many new dishes to try down here. 

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5. Embrace the Who Dat nation

Before moving to NOLA, I’ll admit that I knew very little about the deep love that the natives hold for their local football team. Don’t try to run from this, because there’s really no escape. There isn't a place in this city that doesn’t support the team, so you might as well throw on a black and gold tutu and join in on the fun. 

 

6. Get used to the directions around here

Uptown, downtown, riverside, lakeside. Leave it at that. Say anything else or more and it’s a dead giveaway that you’re new here. It doesn’t always make sense, but that’s part of the charm of New Orleans. Yes, it’s very confusing that the West Bank is not, in fact, west, but it is what it is. 

8 Tips for

7. Weather

Maybe you moved here for work or family or because you decided to take a leap into one of the world’s greatest cities, but it’s important to understand that you have also walked into a living hell in the summer months. But that’s what snoballs are for. The humidity is something you will never get used to, and the palm trees are here for fall and winter. If you’re looking for someplace sunny, you’ve found it. 

 

8. Learn to suck the head and eat the tail

I encountered crawfish during my first visit to New Orleans. It was a long weekend of exploring the city, and I was already overwhelmed, but then was totally beside myself when someone placed a three-pound platter of crawfish in front of me. If you’re a local, there’s no doubt that you’ve never had to question where to start when eating fish and seafood. Most New Orleans babies are born already knowing how to peel crawfish, so if you’re totally clueless, now is the time to learn—and once you have, prepare to devour. 

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