New Orleans Phrases & Expressions: Part 1

New Orleans Sayings & Expressions


New Orleans sayings and phrases. They might leave you scratching your head, wondering WTF you just heard! Here are some of the phrases you might hear while wandering the streets of New Orleans.

DISCLAIMER: Not all New Orleanians use all of these phrases or sayings. We are a special city where some things are said in one area and not said in others. It depends on where you were raised and what section of the city you hail from! 



#1: Making groceries

This is a pretty old-school phrase and used to mean that you’re going grocery shopping. Now I didn’t grow up saying this, and none of my family does either – but many other New Orleanians do use it. 



#2: Crawfish out of this

Crawfishing out of something means that you did or said something bad, and you’re trying to get out of it. Like if you accidentally sent a screenshot of a convo to the wrong person and you needed to take up a story about why you “accidentally sent to them,”  – that would be crawfishing out of it. 



#3: Come See 

I never thought this was a weird phrase until I said it to a non-local, and they came to actually “see” something. What we mean by it is “come here.” We want you to come close so we can tell you something. 


#4: Yeah, you right

This New Orleans saying is just said if you agree, disagree, or whatever in between. 



#5: Ya mama and dem

This expression is said usually said like this “How’s your mama and dem?”

They are just asking how you and your family are. 



#6: Awww, Hell Nah

This might be my favorite of New Orleans phrases. It’s said when you love and hate things too – see a pattern here?


#7: Baby

It’s hard to write down the way New Orleanians call each other baby. But, once you hear it, there is no turning back. 

The closest way I can write the way locals say this word is: baaaaaybeee.

What to keep in mind is that men call other women baby. Men call other men baby. Women call other women and men this word too. This is a gender-neutral term.



#8: Ya heard me

Ya heard me is a typical saying that loosely means “you know what I mean’ or “do you understand.” For example “He got pulled over after being out all night, ya heard me.”



#9: Save the dishes

Your Maw Maw probably used the phrase. Tt means after washing and drying the dishes; you put them away in the cupboard.



After reading through this list and explanations – I am concerned that I only confused non-locals more than helped!

While New Orleanians may have a language and accent all of their own, just embrace it and go with the flow! We have a different pace of life here in the Crescent City.


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