What’s That You Say?

Folks in Southern Louisiana have a rather unique way of saying things that visitors just may not quite understand.  Here are a list of some common words, pronounciation, and meaning.

Andouille: (ann-doo-we)
A spicy Cajun sausage made of smoked pork.
Atchafalaya:  (at-chaf-a-lie-a)
As the largest overflow swamp in North America, the Atchafalaya is both an area and river located between the East and West Atchafalaya Basin Guide levees.
Bayou: (bah-yoo)
Slow-flowing, natural stream (river) in Southern Louisiana.
Beignet: (ben-yay)
A powdered sugar, deep-fried French doughnut.
Boudin: (boo-dan)
Cajun sausage made with rice, ground pork, chicken and vegetables.
Boudin Balls: (boo-dan ballz)
Deep fried round balls of Cajun sausage dipped in batter and fried.
Bourre: (boo-ray)
Cajun card game played from between two to eight players.  Suits and tricks are involved and the players who do not win any tricks have to match the pot.
Cafe au lait: (kah-fay-oh-lay)
Hot coffee mixed with boiling milk  Popular in many parts of the world now.
Cajun: (ka-jun)
Derived from Acadian, it refers to Louisianians descended from French-speaking immigrants from Acadia or the area of Canada now known as Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and neighboring islands.
Chicory: (chik-or-ee)
A plant whose leaves are used in salads and whose roots are dried, roasted and ground for mixing with coffee for thickness and special flavor.  Used in Louisianne and Chok Full ‘O Nuts Coffee, among others.
Cochon de lait: (koh-shon-duh-lay)
“Whole roast pig”  Historically referred to suckling or milk-fattened pig and the event surrounding the preparing, roasting and eating.
Crawfish: (kraw-fish)
Never say crayfish.
Etouffee: (ay-too-fay)
Cajun crawfish or shrimp dish served over rice.
Fais-do-do: (fay-doh-doh)
Cajun dancing party.  Literally means "go to sleep" because children were traditionally brought to the party and placed in a room while their parents danced.
Filé: (fee-lay)
Powdered sassafras leaves used as a thickener for gumbo.
Gumbo: (gum-boh)
A roux-based soup of poultry, sausage or seafood, served over rice.  Some Gumbo recipes contain a little less rice, and can have a whole small cooked crab in the bowl.
Jambalaya: (jam-buh-lie-uh)
Rice dish made with meats and vegetables.
King Cake:
Sweet, roll-like cake made in a ring. It contains a plastic baby, and the person who finds the baby must provide the next cake. Widely sold during carnival season (Jan. 6 - Ash Wednesday) before Mardi Gras.
Lagniappe: (Lan-yap)
Popular French word meaning "something a little extra or unexpected."
Laissez les bons temps rouler: (less-say-lay-baw(n)-taw(n)-roo-lay)
French translation of “Let the good times roll!”
Levee: (lev-ee)
A dike or an embankment designed to prevent flooding.
Lundi Gras: (lun-dee graw)
The day before Mardi Gras.
Mardi Gras: (mar-dee-graw)
Day of revelry the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Its name means "Fat Tuesday."
Muffuletta: (muff-a-let-a)
A type of Italian sandwich made with thick, round bread, olive oil, several layers of meats and cheeses and olive salad.
New Orleans:  (New Orlens, or Naw'lins)--NEVER say New Orleens!!!
Pirogue: (pee-roe)
Shallow-water boat used in south Louisiana, particularly in swamps and marshes.
A sandwich made with French bread and filled with meat or seafood. Similiar to a hoagie or sub in other cultures.  A must-try sandwich while you’re in Lousisana.
Trade name for brand of hot sauce made in Iberia Parish.  Widely available.
Contraction of you all. Never “you guys.”  Used in many parts of the South.
Zydeco: (zah-dee-koh)
A blues-influenced type of Cajun dance music popular in Louisiana and Texas and usually played with an accordian, guitar and violin (fiddle).