January 20, 1997 in Sports

New Orleans: Super Bowl City Way Down Yonder, Dawlin’, They Pass Fans A Good Time

Charlotte Porter Associated Press
 

What you want, dawlin’?

You Green Bay Packers fans need a drink after that long flight to N’awlins? You New England Patriots fans lookin’ for someplace poppin’ to the break of day?

This is it, baby. This is the place to party. No place like it in the world. The NFL might get a little uptight and send the Super Bowl to places like Phoenix and San Diego, but N’awlins is Super Bowl Central, honey, and always will be.

We’ve had seven of ‘em here already. We know how to pass a good time.

Now, ‘fore we go on, you need to know how to pronounce the place. No sense lookin’ like a complete tourist, right?

It’s New Or-lee-uns or New Orluns or N’awlins, NEVER New Orleens. You ever said “Frisco” to somebody from San Fran? They don’t like it much. We don’t like New Or-leens. Now, Orleans Parish, in which we sit, IS pronounced “Orleens.” Don’t be askin’ me why.

Don’t be too sad if no one calls you “cher,” either. You’re most likely to hear that in Cajun country, and that’s out west a bit of a ways. Here, you’ll most likely get called “dawlin’,” or “baby,” or maybe even “my heart” (that’s “hawt”).

It’ll sound like Brooklyn with a Southern accent. We come by it as honest as Brooklyn does, what with all the Irish and Italians who settled here back around the turn of the century. That’s why we say “erstahs” instead of “oysters,” or “sawt” instead of “salt.” We’ll drag it out an extra syllable just so you remember where you at.

“Where y’at?” is a time-honored greetin’ around here. Mostly comes from the eastern suburb of Chalmette, where a lot more of those Irish and Italians ended up. Folks around here call ‘em “Yats,” but you better not unless you a Yat yourself. Some people take offense.

Awright, back to the party. Bourbon Street is the place for it, as you maybe heard. We got bars there of every description. Rock bars, blues bars, zydeco bars, naked lady bars, naked guy bars, bars where guys dress like ladies. Most of them don’t have a cover charge, ‘scuse the pun.

And, yes, you can walk down the street with your drink in your hand, as long as it ain’t in a glass container. You can buy beer in “go-cups” at little stands along the street. Most bars have go-cups sittin’ next to the door, so you can take your drink when you leave. You don’t want to spend too long in one place, prob’ly, since the scene will be on the street.

Oh, yes, dawlin’, and it will be a bigger scene than usual, with Mardi Gras right around the corner. In fact, there’s a parade through the Quarter the night before the Big Game.

Look up. There will be folks on the cast-iron (not wrought-iron) balconies along Bourbon Street that will be dropping beads on you if you show them parts of your anatomy your mama ain’t seen in years. Some of the folks on the balconies like to show you that stuff, too. Police always sayin’ they gonna crack down, but we’ve seen ‘em lookin’, too.

You’ll need to stop by Cafe du Monde for some beignets. Have a muffaletta at Central Grocery. Take the streetcar over to look at Anne Rice’s house (it’s the one with the crowd of tourists and the giant statue of a German shepherd on the balcony - don’t be askin’ me why).

We had a li’l problem with a boat out there at the Riverwalk, but the mayor says he’s gonna have it fixed for you. Lots of nice things to buy all ovah the place. Bring money. Lots of it. And spend it.

Everyone here likes to see you tourists havin’ a nice time. But a lot of people get stupid the minute they hit town, and there are some things you gotta learn.

Watch where you at. Some neighborhoods - mayor, please forgive me - just ain’t that friendly to idiots wanderin’ around with pockets full of cash. Stick to the well-traveled areas, ‘specially the Quarter.

Don’t stop to wager if some kid says he knows where you got them shoes. If you too dumb to know you got ‘em on your feet, he’s gonna be wantin’ some cash.

The cops are a pretty decent bunch, regardless of what that Mike Wallace says, and they want you to be havin’ a nice time, too. But they do not take no sass from drunks.

And if you do ANYTHING to hurt one of their horses … well, honey, hope you got a quarter to call your lawyer, ‘cause your rear end gonna be in jail before you know it. And you be lucky if it ain’t in a sling besides.

xxxx GLOSSARY A glossary of terms used by New Orleanians, so’s you won’t feel too lost during your Super Bowl partyin’: “Erstahs”: Those salty things on the half-shell that look so bad and taste so nice. “Mudbugs”: Also known as crawfish. NOT crayfish. “Where y’at?”: Traditional greeting. Long story. Ain’t goin’ into it here. “Dressed”: The way you eat your po-boy. Means it comes with lettuce, maybe tamayta, maybe some my-nez. “Lagniappe”: A li’l something extra, for free, just to be nice. “Second line”: The folks that dance behind the band in funeral and other parades. The band is the first line. “Hawt”: What you might get called if you real, real nice.


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