nightrose83 (nightrose83) wrote in little_details,

New Orleans Terminology Question

Background setting to my story: Young (18-year-old) Caucasian man that was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana in an area outside of the French Quarter. He isn't of mixed ethnicity and is of middle class, but is no stranger to knowing lower-class people and at one point in his life wanted to imitate them due to being in a gang. While he's moved in the past year with his older sister to Japan, he'd still use whatever slang he was raised with or picked up along the way to describe things, rooms in a house, etc. Since this is a roleplay, I've had to play him already, but want to establish a few details to elaborate on his background.

My question is, what would someone of that age group and background call a living room? I tried using Wikipedia and Google, putting in specific terms like 'What would someone from New Orleans call a living room?' While I got several pages of information, many of them were ambiguous. Wikipedia, aside from giving me the definition of a Victorian parlor and saying some places still use it to mean 'living room' as part of their regional vernacular, didn't tell me whether or not people from New Orleans would also include that as part of what they say.

I know the French word for 'parlor' is similar to the English phrase and that calling this specific room of the house a 'living room' became the style after the dead were supposedly laid out in what would constitute a parlor way back when and therefore the name change (supposedly) became necessary, but that's the only answer I've received from asking on other sites. While there was a main Wikipedia article on New Orleans slang saying there are people that call a living room a 'parlor,' I was wondering if those people were of French descent and/or a little older, or if it was acceptable in a younger generation too? I also heard tell that a closet to some people in New Orleans is a locker and what other people would call soda or pop is a cold drink or Coke, regardless of what the drink was flavored as. I've seen other sites where people who were supposedly from New Orleans have said a living room is a parlor, but since they also didn't post their ages and where in the city they're from, I decided to ask here.

So far I've been having my character refer to the living room as a parlor, but can probably try come up with why this is so should calling it a 'living room' be the predominant style there for someone of his race/background. Thanks for any help anyone can give me in advance!

Edit: Most of the above's been answered and has given me a good point on where I need to begin correcting. Now I'm wondering about 'banquettes' which a few other sites ( and the like) have described as 'raised sidewalks.' I'm guessing these are referred to as something very specific and a sidewalk elsewhere would be a plain old sidewalk? On another note, I'm curious about the phrase 'to pass by' someone's house and how commonly it's used and where, and what the main difference between a 'snowball' and a 'snowcone' is, if any. Also, if it affects anything, I was thinking the character in question is from Gentilly (though this hasn't been specifically mentioned and is up for later change), though he would have probably mixed with people from different wards at one point or another in his life and may have picked up on the things they say too.

Here's one of the links one of my searches turned up. Now, I know not everyone's going to use all the phrases here, or in some places, at all, but I was curious if some of these are still used and if so, where they're used. After doing a lot of searching, I'm starting to think it'd be helpful if someone put a more current page together with more details so people from outside the city don't get so easily confused. Anyway, if anyone can take some time and educate my ignorance, I'd be more than appreciative!

Edit x 3: Had a few last (promise!) questions about turns of phrase:

Spaghetti sauce vs. gravy
The regional phrase for 'turn signal' there
How often the phrase 'for true' is used there if at all
'y'all' is something else that's supposedly said among some people, without a twang or drawl?
'Mischief Night' vs 'devil's night' or other phrases
robe vs house coat
traffic circle vs roundabout, circle, etc

After those are answered, I think I'll be settled. Thanks again, everyone. :)
Tags: usa: louisiana, ~languages: english: american

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