Yat City

It seems to be Yat week at our little corner of the NOLA (the city) blogosphere. Nola (the blogger) tells her Yat family story.

While my father is a 5th generation New Orleanian from Mid-City, my mother is from Cajun Country; neither could be considered “Yats,” nor did they raise any Yat children. We knew what Yats were, but living on the Westbank in Algiers, we weren’t necessarily exposed to these denizens of the 9th Ward and St. Bernard Parish.

But for me, there are two Yat stories that come to mind. One I related in a comment to Nola’s post and will repeat here. The other, a run-in with a reluctant Yat, occurred while I was attending LSU.

Zoo Yats

Some time ago, a friend and I went on down to da Audobon Zoo, where dey all axe fo’ you. It was a cold day. We were watching the keepers give the elephants a bath. There was a yat family standing next to us, and the little yat kid said, as the leviathans were being hosed down with water, “Daddy, don’t dem elephants get cold?” “No, son. Naytcha provides.” Could be a Vic & Nat’ly panel in the making. Don’t they have a nephew?

The Reluctant Yat

One year while I was at LSU (there were plenty) our little gang was hanging out one night and Jenn (all names will be changed to save the guilty from embarrassment) announced her friend from high school (Ursulines) would be meeting us that night. Jenn says, “Don’t ask her where she’s from.” Which, as Nola has pointed out, is the the second question one New Orleanian asks another, after “Where did you go to school?”

Jenn explained. “Natalie [of course] is from the 9th Ward, but she won’t say she’s from the 9th Ward. She’ll avoid telling you where she’s from if she can avoid it. Just don’t ask. She’s kind of sensitive about it.” So then we arrived, then Natalie arrived. We had some beers, didn’t talk about the subject right off the bat, but as soon as she opened her mouth it was obvious she was 100% Yat.

After a couple of hours and a cushion of Budweisers, I say, “So what part of town are you from, Nat?”

“Yeah. Well. Ya’ know. Dat part kinda between the Marigny and Chalmette.”

“Oh, you mean the 9th Ward?” “Yeah, da 9th Ward.”

She proved it later on with the quintessential Yat story.

“My granny and granpa is gettin’ a divorce.”

Jenn says, “Oh my God. What do you mean, they’ve been together forever!”

“I don’t know. Granny says, ‘I’m seventy-one years old an’ I’ll be god-dammed if I’m gonna spend da’ remaindah a my years wit a son-of-a-bitch.'”

6 Responses to Yat City

  1. YatPundit on April 2, 2008 at 10:41 pm


  2. melly on April 3, 2008 at 8:30 am

    I am *so* glad I found this site! It is moments like this…I miss the city so much and people here have no idea what it is like! Thank you!!!

  3. Moondance on April 3, 2008 at 8:35 am

    All those years in New Orleans, and whenever someone asked me “So, where are you from?” I thought they were refering to my obvious out of town-ness. It got so I’d just say “Met’ry” and hope that did not discern the yankee accent under my Vic’n’Nat’ly impression.

  4. NOLA Notes » Blog Archive » More Yat-isms on April 3, 2008 at 10:16 am

    […] picked up my Yat post from Monday and added to it. I am keeping the ball in the air with this […]

  5. Ryan on April 3, 2008 at 10:59 am

    You speak of chalmette and the 9th ward as if they have a monopoly on yat. My family is all from “Metry” and I’d peg a good many of them as yats. Granted, we don’t have the thickest yat accents of anyone you’ve ever heard, but I’ll attribute that to one family member having a masters in “elumentry ejuh-cash’n” and another having her masters in “speech p’tholgy”

  6. Pete on April 3, 2008 at 11:16 am

    You’re right, Ryan. I guess Yat is as Yat does.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *