Thursday, May 27, 2010

Lagniappe Isn't What It Used To Be

Over the weekend, my lovely bride and I were catching up on DVR'd episodes the tremendous miniseries Treme on HBO.  For those unaware, it's HBO's latest original series, this one based on post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans.  The writing, the acting, the music, the whole scene -- is terrific.  It's original programming like this that keeps me from canceling HBO -- hell, from axing all of pay TV.

I've always had a soft spot for the Crescent City... the first time I met her, was on an overnight bus trip back in college with my fraternity.  I had passed out on the trip from San Antonio (not entirely because of sleep deprivation) and my first sight of the Big Easy was a very unsettling above-ground cemetery.  I've loved -- and dreaded, in a lovely sort of way -- the town ever since.  So while many are "Vegas" people, I'm a New Orleans guy.  I'll take real, historical, authentic 1700s-era glory, decadance and depravity -- for Steve Wynn's version anyday.

But that's neither here nor there.  In Treme, John Goodman, fat bastard and raconteur extroidanaire, said, "Lagniappe isn't what it used to be."  I belly laughed, as I often do - Treme is one of those shows that anyone can relate to, but to natives -- and the more that you've been there -- well, you just see it in a different, richer way.  Don't take my word for it -- Goodman is priceless:

My wife had no clue wat lagniappe was though - and I'll bet there are plenty of you who join her.  "LAN-yap" is simply a little something extra - a free gesture, or a bit of swag, if you will.  I learned it the first time I was in New Orleans (not far from Treme, just off Congo Square), when a bartender graciously gave a cluster of us frat boys a Sazerac on the house one afternoon.  Thankfully, I was sober enough to remember it and use it once in awhile in conversation.

I think you should too. And while you're at it, give a little lagniappe, will y'all?  God knows this world could use some.  It has a way of returning the favor.


  1. Ted,

    Excellent post! I'm a child of New Orleans and a little lagniappe goes a long way....I met John Goodman in '94 when he married a friends sister, quite a fellow with a lot of love for the Big Easy. I'm sure that that little speech of his was ad lib and from the heart.


  2. Awesome. Going to have to catch that.