by Arthur Pfister

I’m so New Orleans I was born in Charity Hospital…

I’m so New Orleans I hung out in the same bars as my teachers when I was

15-16 years old

I’m so New Orleans I know what’s meant by Bulldogs, Rams, Green Hornets and Purple Knights

I’m so New Orleans I still use HAI KARATE

I use words like “BOO-COO BIG” and pronounce “Vieux Carre” as “Voo Carre”

I’m so New Orleans I use words like “cornder” and I call anthrax “AMTRAK”

I’m so New Orleans I say things like ““ba-a-a-a-a-a-a-bay”…

I know how to pronounce “Toulouse” and “Tchoupitoulas”(even though I can’t spell it)

I’m so New Orleans I have a framed pitcha of a chineyball tree

I’m so New Orleans I had a chineyball tree in my back yard On Dumaine St.

I’m so New Orleans I fell out a chineyball tree and broke my arm…

I’m so New Orleans I use any excuse to have a party (National New Orleans Day)

I got Mardi Gras beads on my bedposts, wear orange, purple, green, and gold pajamas (and dream ‘bout the Sixth Ward all night long)

I’m so New Orleans when I hear the name “Doctor” I know they ain’t nobody sick

I’m so New Orleans when I hear the name “Professor” I know they ain’t talkin’ ‘bout college

I’m so New Orleans when I hear, “Hey, ba-a-a-a-aby” I know what they talkin’ ‘bout

I’m so New Orleans I know somebody named Trazi

I know somebody named Chopsley

I know somebody named Zebadee and Oatie P.

I know somebody named Blink

I know somebody named Pink

I’m so New Orleans I know somebody named Stink…

I’m so New Orleans Father Grant told me, “Go to Clark, Champ” where I had a track

coach named Bacchus and an English teacher named Sanchez

I’m so New Orleans I read poetry at Borsodi’s and The Neighborhood Gallery

I’m so New Orleans I call my tenth floor balcony “the gallerie”

I’m so New Orleans I know what it mean when a woman put dat red gravy on a man

I know what it mean when a woman put salt in a man’ shoes and I know what it mean when somebody burn a candle on you

I’m so New Orleans Bust Down is my favorite rapper

I’m so New Orleans I was watchin’ the news about the civil war in Angola and thought it was about the jail

I’m so New Orleans my boy just got back from Angola (and I ain’t talkin’ ‘bout Africa)

I’m so New Orleans I know the difference between Big Oil and Big Earl

I’m so New Orleans I remember when there was a black side and a white side of the lake

I’m so New Orleans I remember Hap Glaudi makin’ dat statement ‘bout “dat lil’

monkey” (Never forget)

I remember when they dragged Avery Alexander down the steps of City Hall (Never forget)

I lived through segregation and gentrification (Never forget)

I’m so New Orleans I can tell who be passin’ cuz half my family “bright” and half my

family “dark”

I still grow plants (legal ones) in CDM cans and I cain’t stand canned gumbo, canned

music or canned red beans

I’m so New Orleans almost everybody I know cook, play music, write poetry, dance, or drink me under the table

I’m so New Orleans I ain’t gon’ talk ‘bout yo’ daddy—I’ma talk ‘bout yo’ momma

I’m so New Orleans when I’m back East I still say “trumpeTIER” (insteada “trumpeter”)

I call turtle “cowann” and I know dat “Kermit” is mo’ than a frog…

I’m so New Orleans I used to wait for the bell peppers to go on sale at Circle Food Sto’

I’m so New Orleans dat when I saw my uncle’ pretty girlfriend I thought she was a

movie star

I still try to hold dat note on RAINBOW ’65 and lose my breath and start coughin’

I still look for Ban Lon shirts in the GOODWILL Sto’, and I still like day-old doughnuts rather than the fresh ones…

I had a pair of PF Flyers and upgraded to U.S. Keds

I rode the Sunset Limited all the way to California and oohed and ah-ah-‘d when relatives drove us to see Nat King Cole’s house

I’m so New Orleans my daddy told me he was gon’ turn me in to the gown men for a

sack o’ potatoes and 5 pounds o’ sugar…

I’m so New Orleans I play The Backatown Blues at my birthday parties

I’m so New Orleans Mem Shannon is my favorite guitar player (and cab driver), Willie

Cole is my favorite drummer and I know Who Shot the La-La and Who Killa The Chief…

I’m so New Orleans I climbed trees to get mispoleeves

I’m so New Orleans I live in Connecticut and have gumbo on Sunday, red beans on

Monday, seafood on Friday and butter beans on Saturday

I’m so New Orleans I know a former Bally Boy

I’m so New Orleans I got a BIG, BLACK umbrella

I’m so New Orleans I know ‘bout the voodoo lady, the snowball man, the knife-sharpening man, the milk man, the ice man, the rag man, the feed man (who sold chickenfeed for chickenfeed), the waffle man, the egg man, the cotton candy man, the shrimp man, the paper man, and the vejitibble man–

“I got ba-na-nas, watermell-on, sweet pato-oo-oo-oo-oo-tee!

I got ba-na-nas, watermell-on rade to dee rind!

So goo-oo-oo–ood it keep the ba-a-a-a-a-aby from cryin’!”

I’m so New Orleans I lived in a rented shotgun house and had a garden in the back yard

I played with my army men in the back yard and me and my daddy built a skatin’ truck

I’m so New Orleans I saw swarming seas of mosquito hogs flyin’ overhead on sweltering summer evenings in back then (I don’t know where they went)

I’m so New Orleans as a child I had a job on a softdrink truck

I’m so New Orleans all my momma’ and daddy’ friends became my aunts and uncles

I’m so New Orleans I took a $.25 ride and picture on a palomino pony in front my house

I had a Hopalong Cassidy sweatshirt, a Fanner 50 and a hula-hoop

(I ain’t never played no jacks)

I’m so New Orleans I got a cousin named Zellie

I’m so New Orleans I have a cousin who was a Carnival king

I have a cousin workin’ on her Ph.D. and a cousin who always inandouta in jail…

I’m so New Orleans I went to visit somebody on the 3rd floor of Charity

(and they wanted to keep me)

I’m so New Orleans people tell me, “Boy– you some crazy, yeah!”

I’m so New Orleans I remember shoppin’ at Maison Blanche Annex

I’m so New Orleans my family took bus rides from the Sixth Ward to the lake for a picnic

I’m so New Orleans I remember standin’ in front the window of Maison Blanche on

Canal St. and staring at Mr. Bingle

I’m so New Orleans I always wondered why Mr. Bingle wasn’t with Santy Claus on

Christmas Eve

I’m so New Orleans I remember catchin’ the City Park or the St. Bernard Bus on the side o’ KRAUSS

I’m so New Orleans I still play Tonk, Spades, and Pitty-Pat (for a quarter) (pic- card game)

I still crush ice by wrappin’ it in a white towel and bammin’ it on the kitchen counter

I still wear tailor-made pants and wing-tipped shoes

I go to the repast when I don’t even know the deceased

I make groceries and draw water

I went to the show at the Carver and the CLABON (in the same day) and I learned about sex at the X-rated theater on Canal St.

I’m so New Orleans I feel safe on Claiborne & Dumaine

I’m so New Orleans I remember when Edwin Edwards visited the 9th Ward

I’m so New Orleans I lined trash cans with the States-Item and the Picayune

I’m so New Orleans I saved money cuttin’ grass, bought a TANDY Leathercraft kit and made a leather belt and wallet

I’m so New Orleans I played BINGO at the church every week and I knew girls who dyed they hair with Kool-Aid…

I’m so New Orleans my momma worked for HASPELS and I had turtles and parakeets for pets

I’m so New Orleans I crushed up the French bread when my momma made puddin’

My momma made the sign-of-the-cross on the French bread befo’ she cut it

My momma made my first dashiki

My momma said, “Whoever don’t like it — lump it!”

My momma said, “I done brought you here—and I’ll take yo’ behind away!”

I’m so New Orleans my momma told me to stop actin’ like I was born in Mandeville…

I’m so New Orleans I had uncles who was porters at the PLAYBOY Club

I wanted to grow up and be a oyster shucker and we kept a hatchet upstairs so we could break through the roof in case of a flood…

I’m so New Orleans I tell people I’ma holler at ‘em

I know what “humbug” mean

I know what “mawfiddice” mean

I know what “It ain’t my fault” mean

I know what “Git-the-funk-out-my-face” mean

I’m so New Orleans I believe dat anybody with a law degree is qualified to run for

public office

I’m so New Orleans I know what misrepresentation and undereducation (pic- dilapidated or closed school) mean

I know what “privatization” mean

I know what “Teach for America” mean

I know what “wind vs. water” mean

I know what “gentrification” mean

I’m so New Orleans I know what “they don’t want us here no mo’” (if they ever did) mean

I’m so New Orleans I announce dat I’m ‘bout to do something…

“I’m fittin’ to walk out the do’”

“I’m fittin’-nuh run to the sto’”

“I’m fittin’-nuh fry this fish”

“I’m fittin’-nuh berl these strimps”

“I’m fittin’-nuh make these beans”

“I’m fittin’-nuh run to the washateria”

I’m so New Orleans I say, “I’m fittin’-nuh put these 13EEEs up yo’—LAWD TODAY!!!!!”

I’m so New Orleans I wrote a book called My Name Is New Orleans

I’m so New Orleans I get mountains of applause for my work—but molehills of

purchases…

I’m so New Orleans I’m sittin’ up here—half-sleep—writin’ a poem ‘bout how I’m so

New Orleans…

I live on the East Coast and listen to WBOK every mornin’

If I see a bright-skinned dude up here I call him “Red”

I order setups in midtown Manhattan

I say “Hey baby” and rattle the radical feminists

I say Where y’at, yeah-ya-right, sho-ya’-right, I know DAT’S right and WHO DAT at poetry readings in Boston

I call the traffic island in New York “the neutral ground”

I was in Maine last week and was so excited ‘bout seein’ a mosquito hog I took a pitcha of it…

I’m so New Orleans I shopped at PAPS

I’m so New Orleans I know a poet and college professor who grew up across the street    

from Hardin Park (Mona Lisa)

I’m so New Orleans I put ketchup on grits, mynaze on lima beans, and potato salad on top my gumbo

I’m so New Orleans I eat erysters and I like gittin’ crabs

I eat tails and suck heads (and say something like dat in public)

I’m so New Orleans I bought fried chicken from a bakery

I order SLAP YO’ MOMMA online and I ask for yaca mein in Chinatown…

I’m so New Orleans a army general (pic of Honore) told me I wasn’t a refugee — I was a displaced American

I’m so New Orleans I still drink rum & coke and all my girlfriends’ mommas was barmaids

I’m so New Orleans my momma told me, “If you don’t stop dat cryin’—I’ma give you

something to cry ‘bout!”

I’m so New Orleans I been in Tony’s Green Room, Joe and Jean’s, Bazanac’s, The House

of Joy, Hank’s, Blunt’s, Mulé’s, the Peacock, the Snowflake, Devil’s Den, Dell’s, the Brown Derby, the Blue Goose, Desert Sands, and the Cozy Corner (anywhere but Tuckey’s Dome)

I still make shrimp Po-boys on Fridays and ask for hot sausage sandwiches (in New Haven)

I like to hear the scratches on the old records and I know what sport Isaiah King and Charlie Powell played

I’m so New Orleans I call A.P. Tureaud “London Ave.” and I call Oretha Castle Haley

“Dryades St.”

I still call the projects by they old names (even if they ain’t ‘round no mo’)

I’m so New Orleans I’ma mow my absentee neighbor’s lawn and git they lot

(You know you wro-o-o-o-ong for dat)

I’m so New Orleans I been all over the U.S. and traveled abroad

(and still know there ain’t nuthin’ like a Sixth Ward woman)

I like big tips, big hips, and big lips…

I’m so New Orleans I live on the East Coast — with all these fine, rich, smart, pretty wimmins and can’t stop thinkin’ ‘bout dat BIG, FINE woman in the 9th Ward…   

I’m so New Orleans…

I get tongue-tied when I try to pronounce the word “gentrification”

-when I try to pronounce the word “asphyxiation”

-when I try to pronounce the word “consciousness”

-when I try to pronounce the word “hypothesis”

-when I try to pronounce the word “innuendo”

-when I try to pronounce the word “subliminally”

-when I try to pronounce the word “abominable”

-when I try to pronounce the word “antithesis”

I’m so New Orleans I get tongue-tied when I try to pronounce my own last name…

I’m so New Orleans I bought plants and 45 RPMs in the backa KRESS
I’m so New Orleans I call marbles “chinees” and I call subway tokens “carfare”

I got a friend named Dago (and he ain’t Italian)

I’m so New Orleans I know a straight man named “DeCuir”.

I know a dark-skinned dude named Snow Noel Foucher- WBOK Danny Bakewell’s right-hand man)

I got a black friend named Whitey

I got a white friend named Craig X

–and I still make the sign-of-the-cross whenever I pass a church

I’m so New Orleans people away from home think I speak a foreign language

I’m so New Orleans I obliterate the language

I’m so New Orleans insteada sayin’ “Excuse me” I say ‘Oops, my ba-a-a-a-a-ad’”

I use words like “bammin’”

I use words like “cornder”

I say things like ““ba-a-a-a-a-a-a-bay”…

I ask for sammiches “dressed” and ask for pepper sausage and liver cheese at New York delis

I say things like “I like-ted dat”

I say things like “LAWD, HAIR MERCY!!!!”

I say things like “you ain’t never lied”

I ask people, “Ya’ heard me?!!” (when I know good & well they did)

I start sentences off with “Back in the day…” and end ‘em with the word “yeah”, yeah…

I’m so New Orleans I use the word “some” as an adjective

I say things like “Dat’s some nice, yeah.”

I tells wimmins, “You some pretty. You some pretty, yeah…You pretty from teef to toe”

I’m so New Orleans I say: “Gir-r-r-r-r-rlll—you some fine, yeah!”

I’m so New Orleans I say: “Uhm-uhm-mmmm…Dis some good, yeah!”

I’m so New Orleans FaceBook’s translator pop up when I write something…

I’m so New Orleans I carry a umbrella under live oak trees so I don’t get stung by

caterpillars

I’m so New Orleans my sister worked for the racetrack

I’m so New Orleans I worked for SUNO, the Job Corps, and the Urban League

I’m so New Orleans my name is Arthur, but my nickname is Billy (?????)

I’m so New Orleans I refer to the elders by a “Mr.” or “Miss’’ befo’ they FIRST —

rather than they last name

I’m so New Orleans I called my grandmother “Mah-Dear”

I got people in my family named Doona, Doody, Boobie, Junior, Pah-DEE, and Tee-TEE

I know people named Mah-DOO, Boo, Zigaboo, Black Boo, Cayou, Bubby, Nubby, Bay-BAY, Ray-Ray, Too-Too, Mah-Moo, Bob-Boo, Noo-Noo, Bob-Bee, and Schneckenburger…

I know cats named Big Wooty, Lil’ Wooty, Noony, Doony, Dip, Big Harold, Lil’

Harold, Big George, Lil’ George, Big Herman, Lil’ Herman, Big Hicky, Lil’ Hicky, and a lady named Big Willie…

I got friends named Pissy and Pissy-Boo and three friends named Country

I got friends named BIG ED and friends named Lil’ Bit and Piece O’ Me (his momma named him dat)

I got BIG, FAT FRIENDS and lil’ itty-bitty skinny friends (and I luvv ‘em all)

I know somebody named Soraparu, Hookfin, Cockerham, Dooky and Pasooky

I even know a woman named Nooky (and she like to be called dat)

I know people named Red, Black, Brown and Blue

I’m so New Orleans I ran into UptownzIllist in a record store on Canal St. and I know Ricardo “Big Easy” Wilson

I know a woman named Keion and a brother named Mandingo

I’m po’ — but I’m on a first-name basis with the bank president (Alden)

I had high school classmates named Willoughby, Woodfork and Woodfox

I had high school classmates named Smitty and Kitty

I’m so New Orleans I had a high school classmate named Titty

I’m so New Orleans I played baseball for the Gentilly Warriors and thought people who lived in Pontchartrain Park was rich

I’m so New Orleans my gran’ma, my momma, my sisters, my cousins and my aunts wore

Daniel Green slippers (some still wear ‘em, but they ain’t gon’ tell you dat)

I remember when Christian Unity Baptist Church was a bowling alley and I laugh when I hear the words “LET HER HAVE IT”

I’m so New Orleans I ate at Chez Helene’s on Robertson after my high school prom and went to weddings in the Lafitte Project

I know ‘bout the lady who grazed her horse on the levee and I learnt how to swim in

Lake Pontchartrain

In fact — I pronounce Pontchartrain “Punchatrain”

I’m so New Orleans I know ‘bout the big, round pool in Abita Springs and went to Boy

Scout camp in Indian Village

I still play Joe Tex records and I can hear the music, smell the roux, and feel the love…

I’m so New Orleans I sense both the magnificence and longsuffering of the people

I’m so New Orleans that I sing and shout and holler their praises their beauteous splendor that inspires and amazes their colors and smells and street vendor yells…

I’m so New Orleans I surrender to its splendor and rejoice in its beatific bosom

I’m so New Orleans every word and deed I attempt to portray in my poetry was, is, and will be about the city that blossoms in my heart like a flower and springs from my fingers like tongues of fire…

I’m just so New Orleans…

Arthur Pfister aka Professor Arturo   

Wednesday, July 23, 2014   3:38 AM

Stamford, CT

© All Rights Reserved

Professor ARTURO, a poet and fiction writer from New Orleans, is a Spoken Word artist, educator, performer, editor and speechwriter.  ARTURO, one of the original Broadside poets of the 1960s, has collaborated on a medley of projects with a mélange of artists including painters, musicians, photographers, dancers, singers, fire eaters, waiters, cab drivers, and other members of the Great Miscellaneous. His work has appeared in such diverse publications as FAHARI, the American Poetry Review, the Shooting Star Review, the Minnesota Review, the Gallery Mirror, EBONY, From a Bend in the River, Mesechabe, Word Up, the Chicory Review, the New Laurel Review, The New Orleans Tribune, The New York Quarterly, Chickenbones, We Speak As Liberators, Black Spirits, A Broadside Treasury, and Swapping Stories: Folktales From Louisiana.  He is presently teaching at Norwalk Community College in Conneticut.

The New Orleans Tribune

We Are Proud to Have Served Our Community for 38 Years. Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Providing a Trusted Voice. We Look Forward to 38 More!