Understanding A Louisiana Native

Written By Galen White

The following has been picked up from many different sources, includin’ the experience of livin’ the life of a Louisiana native. Now, I’ve stated many times that my dominoes may be missin’ a spot or two, and that there are plenty of people in the world who are, by far, more intelligent than I’ll ever be. They use all kinds of $4 words and impress others with their knowledge. Be that as it may, I’m not overly impressed. Why? Well, you gotta know the meanin’ of the $4 word in order to be impressed, ain’t cha?

Now, I’m fixin’ to ‘splain to you some of the phrases and words used by us Louisianans. If you happen to be a Louisiana native, you know that “fixinto” is one word, and it means you are “going to act in a matter of seconds or minutes”. And if I say I know ol’ Beau Breaux “frontards and backards”, it means that I know everything about him.

Now, be truthful here, folks. Which is easiest to understand? “Come with me. I’m fixinto go inside where I know ever’body frontards and backards.” Or, “Walk this way and we shall make ingress to this establishment wherein identities and characteristics of all patrons therein are mutually recognized and renowned by one another.” I rest my case.

If you are really a Louisiana native, you won’t find much of the following very surprising. But if you are a transplant or a sho’nuff city slicker, this may make livin’ here, or at least understandin’ a few things about us rural natives, a little bit easier. As I said, some of the remarks came from various e-mails I have received; some are a result of my own experiences.

For those of you who have always thought otherwise, armadillos and possums don’t really sleep in the middle of the road with  their feet stuck straight up in the air. Odds are the glimpse of a fast movin’ Chevy pickup ran through their minds (literally) and they are now the choice entree for the buzzards circling overhead.

If you like gardening and want to plant some corn, watermelons and cantaloupes, but are afraid you cannot tell when they are ready for harvest, don’t worry. Go ahead and plant ’em. the raccoons will test your crop and let you know when they are ripe. And yes, people around here actually grow and eat okra. Of course, we call it “ohkry”. Never have understood where some folk get the idea it’s “oh-crah”. “po-tay-toe”, or “toe-may-toe”. It’s ohkry, ‘taters, and ‘maters.

Oh, yeah. If it grows wild here, it sticks. If it crawls, it bites. Believe me, folks, human flesh to a fire ant is like an ice cream cone to a 7 year old boy on a hot August day. On the other hand, I don’t believe it’s true that out of some 5,000 species of snakes, 4,998 live in Louisiana. It’s more like 4,997. Now, out of 10,000 types of spiders worldwide, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out all 10,000 of the species actually thrive here.

Louisiana natives may not know the names for all the cloud formations, but we know a “thunderhead” when we see one. And no, I ain’t referrin’ to a loudmouth. We do have a word for loudmouths, but it ain’t got nothin’ to do with their head. And since this is a family blog, they wouldn’t print it if’n I told you what it was.

To the city slickers who buy a few acres of land and a piece of equipment and believe the tractor is an all-terrain vehicle; it ain’t. They do get stuck. Furthermore and around here, if you want everyone in the store to know you are from some foreign country. just call a buggy a shopping cart.

Texans call a hole of water used for irrigation and watering cattle a tank. To a Louisiana native, a tank is an army vehicle with a mounted gun suitable for deer huntin’ as well as self-defense. Here, a hole of water used for irrigation and waterin’ cows is a pond, regardless of how big or how little. It may also serve as a swimmin’ hole during the summer.

Our preferred drink for any meal ‘cept breakfast is ice tea. No, it ain’t “iced” tea; it’s “ice” tea. Hey! The tea ain’t frozen, just the ice cubes. In fact, we put our babies on tea at the very first opportunity. Of course, everyone knows coffee is THE drink for breakfast.

You know, I’m always gettin’ into trouble when invited to dinner with folks who are not Louisiana natives. I show up at 12 noon and they look at me as if I got a third eye right square-dad in the middle of my forehead. Looky here, in Louisiana, dinner is at noon; ain’t no such thing as “lunch”. Supper comes around 5 or 6 in the evening. I’d like to strangle the dude who said dinner is at 9 or 10 o”clock at night! Why, I’d starve to death waitin’ that late to eat.



Galen WhiteGalen White has written articles for several papers in North Louisiana and is now retired.






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