We had a tough time pronouncing New Orleans street names when we moved here. Tchoup – a – what? Thank goodness our friends walked us through it: Tchoupitoulas is “chop-uh-too-lus” or more frequently “Chop.”
Some names are French, some are Native American and some are plain ol’ New Orleanian. We enjoyed this column from New Orleans real estate agent Jean-Paul Villere about how to pronounce street names.
And now for an excerpt from Villere’s column:
Let’s go over a few basics on the rue tip:
Milan: Forget the Italian city you thought you knew as mee-lahn, in New Orleans it’s my-lann.
Conti / Tonti: While many favor a –tie it’s preferred as a –tee, as in con-tee / tawn-tee.
Clio: The storied street that crosses St. Charles is not klee-oh, it’s kly-oh — or if you’re really in the know then cee-elle-ten (C-L-10).
Treme: Just because HBO made a show by the same name doesn’t mean most know it isn’t tream but tremm-aa.
Iberville: This one’s a toss up, as one hears ibber-ville just as much as eye-ber-ville.
Jena: Many newbies go for Gee-na as in Davis, but we go for Jenn, so it’s jenn-uh.
Cadiz: Like Iberville, this one cuts both ways as either cuh-deez or cay-dizz.
Peniston: Everyone’s favorite but avoid being phallically challenged, shoot for pen, and go pen-iss-ton.
Dufossat: The preferred is doo-faucet but on occasion one will hear doofus-at.
Colapissa: you’re on your own.
Good luck neo-New Orleanians!
Thanks for the tips, Jean-Paul! Other tips we’ve learned:
Burgundy Street is “bur-GUN-dy” not “BURG-gun-dy.”
And, it’s “New Or-lins” or “New Or-le-uns.” Say “New Or-leens” and you are automatically pegged as an outsider. And “eaux” equals “o.” For example, “geaux” is pronounced “go” and “Dedeaux” is pronounced “Dedo.”
Jean-Paul Villere is the owner of Villere Realty and Du Mois Gallery on Freret Street and a married father of four girls. In addition to his Wednesday column at UptownMessenger.com, he also shares his family’s adventures sometimes via pedicab or bicycle on Facebook,Twitter, and YouTube.