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March 09, 2012


Yapa is still in use in Peru, meaning exactly that. Interesting that it worked its way into English via French.

IIRC, the Quechua word is 'yapay.'

In Nicaragua we have a similar concept: ipegüe [ee-peh-gway].

Igor's Pit Stop- combination laundromat, bar, poolhall, and I swear to god I remember a bowling alley also, but I was sooo drunk...

An interesting thing about New Orleans is its very distinctive local accent - recognizable anywhere and not remotely "southern.". I've often wondered where it came from.

One minor feature is a tendency to stress the first syllable of a word that is pronounced differently elsewhere. Thus the major local private university is Tu' lane, as if decribing a narrow highway, not Tu lane'.
(Did I do those accent signs right?)

Unfortunately, my main memory of New Orleans is negative. (As with Montreal, one bad interaction can color your feelings for decades afterwards.)

I was attending a conference, and got in early. As you might expect from a computer guy (even in the late 1970s), I was casually dressed -- slacks and a sport shirt, not a suit.

The hotel restaurant was essentially empty at the hour I arrived. But the waiter was the opposite of attentive: it took major hand-waving (arm-waving actually) to even get his attention to bring the check. (Apparently he was more interested in his converstaion with the cashier than in wasting time on a customer.) As for getting little things like a water glass refilled, forget it.

Not surprisingly, he got zero tip. And came running out into the hall after me, to suggest that I had overlooked it and offer to fill it in to correct my "oversight." At which point, I amended the credit card slip to make it explicit that the tip was zero.

He went ballistic. "I depend on tips to support my family!" etc. Somehow, my sympathy was limited. I'll tip for average service, and tip heavily for very good service. But no service is going to get you no tip at all. To my mind, it's like not getting paid if you fail to show up for work.

As you can probably tell, three decades later the memory is still clear. And since that's all I remember of the trip to New Orleans....

I'm not a big NO fan either. That said, lagniappe is a handy term and you hear it beyond NO and even outside LA. I would have guessed a French etymology, given that the Creole culture and history is ultimately French.

Igor's Pit Stop

hey, i know that place! good fries. good jukebox, too. my wife has a t-shirt from there.

it's right next to a hotel where my MIL has a timeshare.

The tip problem was because new Orleans is more of the French style.

New Orleans is, hands down, one of my favorite cities. NOLA and Philly, probably.

If you're a drummer, unless you want to stick just with straight up rock, everything interesting comes out of the African diaspora in one way or another. And NOLA is the motherlode. It's the African beachhead in North America.

So, it's sort of a spiritual home, to me.

My favorite place in NOLA is Frenchman St in the Fauborg Marigny, just downriver from the quarter. A few blocks of really, really good music clubs, great food. Mostly locals, not many Tulane undergrads stumbling around with to-go hurricanes.

The Rock 'N Bowl up in Mid-City is fun too. There's also a *great* outdoor sculpture park up in Mid-City, which I'm not sure many folks know about.

That's all I'm sharing, I'm keeping the rest of my favorites for myself. :)

Thanks for the comments. Iván and NicaKnit, if you have the urge to write a guest post about what's happening where you are, drop me a line a libjpn at gmail.

wj, I was going to say something that dovetails into what Seb wrote, which is that NOLA is a place where a lot of the waitstaff are (or at least used to be) doing it as a full time job rather than a waystop on the way to whatever they have planned. This isn't to excuse the rudeness, just to note that NOLA waitstaff can be a bit imperious.

I was by no means a local, just one of those folks in the no-man's land between local and tourist, so which gave an interesting vantage point. I'm not sure if there are other places in the US where you might have a waiter whose father or grandfather also worked in the same restaurant. Perhaps particular restaurants, but there used to be whole swathes of restaurants that were like that in the Vieux Carré, though I suspect that is gone after Katrina.

There's also a fantastic French bakery on Magazine just uptown from Napoleon Ave, on the river side of the street. Good for breakfast or lunch.

I wanna hop on a plane right now.

I suspect that is gone after Katrina.

My wife worked for a retail management consultancy based in NOLA for about twenty years. We have a lot of friends there.

The consensus after Katrina was that NOLA was basically a third world city. Nothing worked. Stuff like UPS or Fedex deliveries were not universally available. Huge amounts of water was leaking out of the municipal system. The police were working out of a trailer.

In the lower ninth and downriver from there a bit, there were blocks and blocks where there would be, like, one house that was inhabited.

It's better now, but still not what it was. A lot of folks who were dispersed by Katrina are simply not coming back, ever.

But there are a ton of people there who love the place, and simply do not want to be anywhere else.

It's better now, but still not what it was.

It's not what is was, but it's a lot better, and people are really optimistic. I love NOLA, and try to go there once a year. I missed last year, but hope to be there come winter. It's hard to say what my favorite city is, but NOLA is in the top three. I've never been unhappy there, not even for a minute.

I've never been unhappy there, not even for a minute.

What sapient said.

I'm going to go to NO finally, after threatening to all my life --- in the next year or two I hope.

If I can't, I'll send a swarm of drones to report back.


I figure Slart will have one of these built by the time the weekend is up.

Hey, check it out, we're now exporting a more recent American value: Spree shootings!

Fans of spree shootings, via Sullivan:


A U.S. soldier going berserk in war after three deployments is one thing.

What to make of these crazies in my country who want to do the same to many of us?

And, what to make of political leaders who encourage the behavior?

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