Thursday, May 27, 2010
Lagniappe Isn't What It Used To Be
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.