11.30.2006

What exactly is a "Tchoupitoulas" anyway?

One of the things in New Orleans that is really strange to me is the spelling and pronounciation of Street, City and Parish (county) names. There are several names that I could never figure out how to pronounce if not for a little help from some of the locals. I decided to find out a little bit more about what these words meant. Below are a few examples.

Plaquemine (Plack a min), a parish and bayou. From the Mobilian (Indian) word "piakimin", which means persimmon.
Tchoupitoulas (chop a too les), a street in New Orleans and a French settlement outside of N.O. at one time. The name of an extinct Indian tribe. Also means "River People".

Calliope Street (Cal' i ope) (The "ope" said like nope--no "e" heard) Don't ask where "Cal-lie-o-pea" is, nobody will understand what street you're looking for!

Carondelet St.- not pronounced like the French (cor on do ley), but instead the T is pronounced.
Burgundy St.- seems easy right? We all know how to pronounce this. But wait - there is a stress on the UN, so intead of "burg andy" it is "burg UN dy". I wonder how they say caramel.Marigny (mar in knee)- Got its name from Frenchman, Bernard Marigny who introduced craps to the US. Faubourg Marigny is considered the first suburb of New Orleans. The Marigny neighborhood is a maze of angular streets that form triangles, pentagons and squares. Numbers jump their sequence mid-block and so do street names. Spanish, French Creoles, Italians, Germans, Irish and many free persons of color were among the first ethnic inhabitants to live in this section of the city.
Pontchatrain- the lake was named after Louis Phélypeaux, comte de Pontchartrain, the French Minister of the Marine, chancellor of France and minister of finance during the reign of France's "Sun King," Louis XIV, for whom Louisiana is named.

For more info, go to:
http://www.experienceneworleans.com/glossary.html or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_orleans

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