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Do people in New Orleans expect tourists to speak French?

Mais non! We don’t speak French in Louisiana, but you will hear folks throw in
a “c’est vrai” a lot. C’est vrai, pronounced the usual way (say vray) means
“that’s true”, and we use it a lot. Otherwise, anyone who has learned high
school French will be appalled at how we talk. Mostly, the nasality in Cajun
French comes from us being southern more than using the classic pronunciation,
but we don’t sound as bad as the Quebecois, who really sound funny. Our
English, by the way, is spicier than the southern accents you hear on TV and it
can be a little difficult to understand sometimes. But don’t worry, we expect
you to be confused, and we’ll never correct your French.

Here’s a brief list of French Quarter street names and the way we say them,
just so you’re not too confused when you visit:

Vieux Carre (literally “Old Square”, but it refers to the French Quarter. In New
Orleans, no one actually uses the French name but you’ll see it a lot on signs):
Voo ka RAY

Dauphine St.: DOW fin

Burgundy St: Bur GUN dee

Milan St: MY lan

Decatur St: dee KAY tur

Chartres St: CHART ters

Tchoupitoulas St (we’re not totally sure if this is a French word): Chop a

New Orleans: As a visitor, calling it New OR lins will be fine. But we’re OK if
you can’t help calling it New Or LEENS. Calling it Nawlins only sounds good
if you’ve been doing it all your life.

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