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Arts & Culture

NOLA Speak: New Orleans Street Names

In this NOLA Speak episode of GoNOLA TV, locals explain, with a little contradiction, how to pronounce New Orleans street names like Carondelet.

Let me ask you this, how do you pronounce “Carondelet”? Silent T? Not so silent T? This street name, among many others, throws people for a loop when they’re visiting the Big Easy. This is pretty understandable considering there are few streets that are actually pronounced as they’re spelled and just when you think you’ve got it down, you’ll find one that breaks every NOLA pronunciation rule you’ve learned. Whether it comes from the Spanish or French, the words marking our streets may require sounding out or just asking a local, but even that can get a bit confusing. How so? Just watch this clip with some suggestions from local celebrities on how they pronounce a few of our landmark streets and you’ll see what I mean!  To learn more about how to talk like a New Orleans local, check out our NOLA Speak series!

Like this NOLA Speak video on New Orleans street names? Check out our GoNOLA TV YouTube channel for more great videos about New Orleans!

Video Transcript:

Lumar Leblanc: This city has such French and Spanish influence we
pronounce streets and words differently. Everybody smiles like you when we
say it.

Bryan Batt: Every Sunday driving to church, we’d be driving down St.
Charles Avenue my mother would point to the signs and say, “How do you
pronounce that?” I’d say, “Melpomene” and she’d say, “No, it’s Melpomene.
It’s Calliope.”

Slab: That’s how people from New Orleans say Calliope.

Mr. Jerome: Calliope.

Fleurty Girl: We have a calliope that plays in the river and people, here
in New Orleans, call it a calliope. So that you know that they know how to
spell it, how to say it.

Derrick Moss: Folks down here have what I call a lazy tongue.

Slab: The T is silent in too many words, so why make it silent in Carondelet.

Bryan: Down here we say Carondelet. I mean Carondelet.

Fleurty Girl: Clio, that’s my favorite, C-L-I-O and it’s called C-L-Ten.

Lumar: Tchoupitoulas: it’s a long word…

Derrick: … that you don’t want to know how to spell.

Slab: T-C-H-O-P…

Fleurty Girl: It’s Indian. It’s Choctaw. It’s…

Bryan: … a great word, but hard to spell.

Slab: Is that right? Am I close?

Mr. Jerome: I wouldn’t know.

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