PEPPER FESTIVAL.
YOU KNOW YOU'RE A NATIVE NEW ORLEANIAN IF:
Your sunglasses fog up when you step outside.

No matter where else you go in the world, you are always disappointed in the food.

You get up in the morning and start a pot of rice to cooking before you give any thought to what you'll fix for dinner.

Your loved one dies and you book a jazz band before you call the coroner.

You think the breeze from a flying roach feels good on a hot summer night.

Your accent sounds nothing like Harry Connick, Jr's.  (yeah, right!)

You can sing all the jingles by heart:  "Rosenberg's, Rosenberg's, 1825 Tulane"; "At the Beach, at the beach, the Pontchartrain Beach...."; "Drink Barq's Root Beer--it's GOOD!"

You were a high school graduate before you realized that Catholic and Public were not two major religions.

Your baby's first words are "long beads".

You ask:  "How dey runnin' ?"  and "Are dey fat?", but you're inquiring about seafood quality and not the Crescent City Classic.

When a hurricane is imminent, you have a lot more faith in Nash Roberts than Super Doppler 6000.  [Nash Roberts was, for many years, meteorologist at WWL Radio and Television].

Your town is low on the education chart, high on the obesity chart and you don't care because you're No. 1 on the party chart.

Nothing shocks you.  Period.  Ever.  Not politics, hurricanes, red lights, parking tickets, the Saints, Mardi Gras. . . .

Your one-martini lunch becomes a five-bloody Mary afternoon...and you keep your job.

Being in a jam at Tulane and Broad isn't the same as being stuck in traffic  [got THAT right!].

You're walking in the French Quarter with a plastic cup of beer.

When it starts to rain, you cover your beer instead of your head.

Your idea of health food is a baked potato instead of fries with your seafood platter.

You have to take your coffee and favorite coffeemaker with you on a three-day trip.

You have sno-ball stains on your shoes.

You call tomato sauce "red gravy".

Your middle name is your mother's maiden name or your father's mother's maiden name or your mother's mother's maiden name or your grandmother's maiden name or you grandfather's mother's maiden name.

You know you recycled too much of the Times-Picayune when there isn't enough for the dinner (or crawfish) table.

You are going through customs and the agent asks you where you're from and you answer:  "Gentilly".

On certain spring days, crawfish monica is your breakfast.

You eat sno-balls instead of throwing them.

Your house payment is less than your utility bill.

You've done your laundry in a bar.

You push little ol' ladies out of the way to catch Mardi Gras throws.

Catching "crabs" makes you smile. 

You look forward to being smashed by a hurricane.

You don't show your "pretties" during Mardi Gras.

You write "crookedpolitician" as all one word.

You know it's "ask", but you purposely say "ax".

You understand it when someone describes their favorite color as "K&B purple".

You know how to mispronounce street names correctly  (Melpomene, Terpsichore, Chartres, etc.)

You know that Tchoupitoulas is a street and not a disease.

Beignets are the major cause of your gallstones.

You wear sweaters in October because it ought to be cold.

Someone asks you:  "Where y'at?"  and you tell them how you are.

You are left behind at an out-of-town bar searching for a "go cup".

You think of potholes as naturally occurring speed bumps.

Your grandparents are called "Maw Maw" and "Paw Paw".

You suck the heads, sing the blues, and actually know where you got dem shoes. 

You shake out your shoes before putting them on.

You're afraid to move away because you won't be able to make Sugar Busters.

You don't go "buy" groceries, you "make" groceries.

You know why you should never, ever swim by the Lake Pontchartrain steps.

You cringe every time you hear an actor with a Southern or Cajun accent in a
"New  Orleans-based" movie or tv show.

You have to reset your clocks after every thunderstorm.

You waste more time navigating back streets than you would if you just sat in traffic.

You still call the Fairmont Hotel the Roosevelt.

You consider garbage cans a legal step to protecting your parking space on a public street.

You fall asleep to the soothing sounds of four box fans.

You ignore cockroaches because you know the only ones you could kill are the weak or infirmed, and it would only serve to strengthen the breed.

                                                   --author unknown (but thanks to Ida Richards for passing it along)
PEPPER FESTIVAL.
Ida Richards, a friend and a true 105% New Orleans native, was, in 1999, selected Pepper Queen emeritus of the annual Pepper Festival held in St. Martinville.  She lost her crown that year to a very large russian woman, so emeritus status is akin to being first runner-up to Miss America, or something like that.  They don't really call it emeritus; it just sounds better than the alternative which, simply stated, is "I lost my crown".  Ida's husband Bob, however, was crowned Pepper King in 1999.   He also, during this time, had a backyard full of the largest and most beautiful pepper plants of all varieties you ever laid eyes on (but that's another story what happened to them since then).  The Festival's contest judges award the crowns to the man and woman who can eat the most hot peppers in a short period of time. 

**NEWSFLASH!!!!--September 2000--Late word out of the Crescent City--Ida Richards swears she will regain her crown and title on the 3rd Sunday in October at this HOT EVENT in St. Martinville. 

****COMING ACROSS THE WIRE*****October 2000--(Dateline St. Martinville, La):  Ida Richards regained her crown as Pepper Queen at the Festival!  (The very large russian woman was put to shame as she bowed to the real Pepper Queen).  Husband Bob, however, was stripped of his title as King, losing it all to a very short mexican man who got the edge by scooping up entire handloads of peppers from the plate and then swallowing them whole (stems 'n all).  Mr. Richards shall now be Pepper King emeritus for the year, or simply PKe. Can't pussyfoot around with the peppers--no manana--just go ahead and eat 'em.   Hopefully, Bob learned a new strategy to use next year. 
October 21, 2001--(Dateline St. Martinville, La):  .The pepper-eating contest is over, and as the crowds abandon St. Martinville, leaving 500 pounds of pepper stems behind, it is with heavy heart that I must report that neither Ida nor Bob will be wearing a crown this go-around, and both have been relegated to emeritus status.  The Evangeline Oak actually wept.  Bob isn't talking.  Ida, in her exclusive interview with Siona LaFrance of The Times-Picayune
(11-17-01, Section E), said "I'll come back.  I have to regain my title." 
October 2002--Took a break from entering this year's Festival because of recent hurricane which left some damage in St. Martinville.
--Queen Ida with pepper, 1999; it wasn't sufficient to retain the Crown this year.

Kiwanis Magazine
August 1999
--Ida Richards with peppers, 1997

The Daily Iberian (New Iberia, LA),
20 October 1997.
YOU KNOW YOU'RE A NATIVE if....

ONLY IN THE CRESCENT CITY

1960's NEW ORLEANS

1950's NEW ORLEANS


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--created 20 August 2000
SF.
modified 24 August 2000
appended 30 October 2000
appended 22 March 2002
appended 22 December 2002