10 of the Funniest Expressions From Louisiana (and How to Use Them)

Louisiana Student Work Languages
by Hank Mendheim Mar 20, 2015

1. Louisianians don’t ask “How are you?”… they say “How’s ya’ momma an em?”

A true Louisianian will run it all together: Howsyamommaanem? The phrase sort of sounds like “homonym.”

What we’re asking is, “How is your mother and them?” The “them” is your family, but your momma’s the most important.

2. Louisianians don’t “take a nap”… they “go do-do.”

The “do” sounds like “doh” as in Play-Doh.

Mother to her cranky baby: “Go do-do.”

3. Louisianians don’t “cheer”… they yell “who dat?!”

This phrase can be used in a couple of ways. “Who dat?” as a question is mostly yelled in support of the New Orleans Saints, the city’s NFL football team.

The phrase originated from a chant long ago, “Who dat say gonna beat them Saints. Who dat? Who dat?” The chant became a theme in the Crescent City in 2009 as the Saints scored one victory after another leading up to their historic Super Bowl win.

“Who dat!” can also be used as an exclamation.

Boss: “Congratulations! You’re being promoted.”

Employee: “Who dat!”

4. Louisianians are never “getting ready” to do something… they’re “fixin’ to do it.”

The phrase simply means you’re getting ready to do something.

Wife: “Did you wash the car?”

Husband: “I’m fixin’ to do that!”

Neighbor: “We’re fixin’ to sit down to supper if you’re hungry.”

5. Louisianians don’t “grocery shop”… they “go make groceries.”

When you hear someone in Louisiana say they’re “gonna go make groceries,” I assure you they are not about to head off to the factory to manufacture goods.

Marjorie: “What ya’ doin’ today?”

Leila: “I’m gonna go make groceries.”

Marjorie: “I’m fixin’ to do that too.”

6. Louisianians don’t say “this is good”… they say “it’ll make you slap ya’ momma.”

Slapping “ya’ grandma” is also interchangeable here, but please keep in mind that Louisianians are very nice people and not about to slap anyone.

The phrase actually means that you really like something.

Customer: “Is the gumbo good?

Waitress: “It’ll make you slap ya’ momma.”

7. Louisianians don’t say “how’s it going?”… they ask “where y’at?”

When you hear this question in Louisiana you may want to respond, “Standing right in front of you,” but that would be incorrect.

You’re really being asked “Where are you at in your life?” or “How are you?”

“Hey Sammy, I ain’t seen you in ages. Where ya’t?”

8. Louisianians aren’t “wealthy”… they get paid “beaucoup bucks.”

If you get a job that pays “beacoup bucks” then congratulations, dinner’s on you! Pronounced BOW-KOO, the phrase means “big” or “a lot.”

“He got a job makin’ beaucoup bucks. Beaucoup!”

9. Louisianians don’t “eat” crawfish… they “pinch the tail and suck the head.”

Before you slap my face, this phrase is not sexual. It is the proper way to eat crawfish. After ripping the crawfish tail from the body, you pinch the tail to loosen up the spicy crawfish meat and eat it. Then suck the head of the crawfish where all of the juices and fat live.

I know it sounds completely disgusting, but it’s really quite tasty.

10. In Louisiana, you don’t get anything “extra” … you get a little “lagniappe.”

Pronounced lan-yap, the word simply means something a little extra. Usually it’s a small token of thanks from a merchant, but can also refer to anything extra or bonus.

Whatever your lagniappe is, a true Louisianian will always serve it up with a smile and a friendly “Ya’ll come back now.”

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