When you first move to a new city, especially New Orleans, you may look at some street names and wonder “how the heck do they pronounce that?!” You may even try to get someone to say it in hopes of not looking like a fool later on. New Orleans really likes to take this game next level. You may *think* you know how to pronounce that street name, but in the New Orleans reality, you have no idea. New Orleans street names pronunciations are a cruel joke for newbies.
Welcome to “How to be a Local in New Orleans.” We begin with a few New Orleans street names.
New Orleans Street #1. Tchoupitoulas
Don’t worry! Unless you’re born and raised here (and even then it’s questionable), we don’t expect you spell it properly.
But, how does one pronounce that street name? It goes something like this: CHOP-ah-too-lus. Yep. We don’t even need the “T”. That last portion of Tchoupitoulas though, some might say it sounds like “les” or “liss” or even “luh”. Just pick one and roll with it.
New Orleans Street #2. Milan
I know. You’re thinking to yourself there is only one way to pronounce this. You would be wrong, my friend. It is not pronounced like the Italian city of Milan. Here in New Orleans, we say “My-Len”.
New Orleans Street #3. Clio
We take this Greek muse and really mix up how to say it. It’s one of two ways and they are vastly different. The first is “kly-oh” and the second being C-L-ten. Yes, that’s correct. The letter “C” then the letter “L” and then the number ten. There are many rumors on how this name came about, none can be proven.
New Orleans Street #4. Calliope
Nope. Not the musical instrument – even though you can hear one on the river playing music. This street name is pronounced “Cal-E-ope”.
New Orleans Street #5. Burgundy
Don’t think this is pronounced like the color or the region in France. Here in New Orleans, we say “bur-GUN-dee.” If you pronounce it the other way, it’s a tell-tale sign you just got to town.
To the newcomers, don’t fret. In no time we will have you mispronouncing words and claiming it’s the only way to say them!