Glossary of Louisiana terms
Beignets - little square donuts covered with powdered sugar, sometimes served with café au lait (coffee with chicory and milk).
Boudin - a Cajun sausage.
Cajun - descendants of the people of Nova Scotia who settled in Louisiana.
Calle - the Spanish word for street.
Calliope - a musical instrument found on a steamboat consisting of a set of steam whistles played from a keyboard.
Cayenne - a hot pepper that is dried and used to season many Louisiana dishes.
Cher - Cajun word for "dear."
Creole - several definitions exist: in Louisiana, a Creole is a white person descended from French or Spanish settlers or a person of mixed European and African blood. It's also a style of cooking and architecture.
Étouffée - spicy cajun stew prepared with rice and, usually, crawfish.
Fais Do-Do - Cajun party with music, dancing and plenty of food.
Garçonnière - the bachelor's quarters on a plantation, usually located behind the kitchen.
Gris-Gris - good luck charm.
Gumbo - thick, spicy soup prepared with ingredients such as rice, sausage, chicken, and okra.
Gumbo Ya Ya - when everybody talks at once.
Jambalaya - spicy dish always made with rice and combinations of seafood, chicken, turkey, sausage, peppers and onions.
Jazz - swinging Louisiana music made popular by Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong and others.
Lagniappe - a little something extra.
Levee - an embankment built to keep a river from overflowing; a landing place on the river.
Muffuletta - a round Italian sandwich as big as your head, made with a variety of meats and olive salad.
Neutral Ground - median.
Oyster Bar - place to find raw oysters on the half shell.
Parish - county.
Po-boy - a hoagie, a sub, a grinder...a long sandwich on French bread usually stuffed with oysters, shrimp or roast beef. A "dressed" po-boy comes with mayo, lettuce and tomato.
Pirogue - Cajun canoe.
Prayer Beads - garlic braids that hang in the French Market.
Roux - flour and oil mixture used to start almost all Louisiana dishes.
Rue - the French word for street.
Second Line - a celebratory dance accompanied by jazz and decorated umbrellas; a New Orleans tradition at weddings, jazz funerals and other festive occasions.
Shotgun - style of house that got its name because you can shoot from the front door straight through the back door of the house without hitting anything.
Where Y'at - in some neighborhoods in New Orleans this is how you say "How are you doing?"
Voodoo - mysterious religion involving charms and spells that came to Louisiana via the Caribbean.
Zydeco - a blend of African and Cajun music.