Guess what? A “mudbug” is not a cockroach like I ignorantly assumed. Among many things that I am learning during this process, here are a few words that had little or no meaning prior to this move but have since made their way into my vocabulary.
Bayou – Of course I knew what a bayou was but I have never had to use the term. Basically a fancy word for “swamp,” it is officially a body of water typically found in flat, low-lying areas with a poorly defined shoreline. It is the home to crawfish, catfish, frogs, and of course, gators.
Beignets – Brought to Louisiana by the Cajuns, these are square pieces of fried dough covered with powdered sugar. The closest thing I can compare this to on the Jersey Shore is a Zeppoli.
Cajuns – The Cajuns are descendants of Acadian exiles (French speakers from Canada) that have settled into lower Louisiana. Their culture has had a significant influence on the entire state, especially in regards to music and cuisine. Don’t laugh but before I learned about the history I thought that “Cajun” just meant a type of spicy food, as in shrimp.
Coonass – Some view this term as an insult, other locals think the term is a badge of honor, but regardless it basically is the Louisiana way to say “hick.”
Laissez les bon temps rouler – The unofficial (and probably the best) state motto, meaning “Let the Good Times Roll.”
Mudbug – Contrary to popular belief, a mudbug is not a cockroach. It is actually another term for crawfish. Duh.
Parish – This took a while for me to wrap my head around but it’s a synonym for what most of us on the East Coast refer to as a “County.” For example, Shreveport is part of Caddo Parish, not Caddo County.
Po’Boy – I have yet to eat one of these but a Po’Boy is a submarine sandwich filled with meat or seafood (usually fried). It originated in New Orleans and is an abbreviation for the expression “Poor Boy” since it was a cheap type of lunch for the working class. The Jersey Italian version? Meatball sub.
Sweet Tea – This is self-explanatory but I didn’t know that it was such a staple beverage until I visited. It’s verrrry sweet and I think it’s best enjoyed on a porch.