The Southern Accent-Updated again some more, with still more thrown in!

My wife and I were watching the show “Criminal Minds” last week, which was set in New Orleans. Of course the first thing we noticed was the accent, which was way off. Strangely, it shouldn’t be too hard to sound like you are from New Orleans, which has a number of different accents to choose from, so pick the one you are most comfortable with and go with it.

That includes hardly sounding as if you are from New Orleans (or how people perceive people in New Orleans sound) at all. I am quite used to the fact that when my friends and I go anywhere nobody can place where we are from. It was a subject of much mirth when we all got together in our early college days scattered across the continent and laughed at how everybody wondered from whence we came. When we would tell them we were from Baton Rouge, the answer was invariably, “you don’t sound like you are from Louisiana.” Well I guess I don’t, but then neither do most people who live here. Usually I get some guess from the Midwest, but once I tell them they begin to notice things. The slight drawl peeking out from behind transitions in speech such as “well,” the use of “y’all,” and a other such tell tale signs. It becomes more obvious depending on what we are speaking about. If I am talking about economics It is probably hardly noticeable at all. Food and drink? Well, the voice subconsciously changes a bit, but more importantly the vocabulary down here is a bit different, and many of the terms carry an unmistakable accent of their own. I may not speak like a Cajun, but andouille sounds Cajun no matter who you are.

So what was wrong with the accents in Criminal Minds? Well, first of all, they all sounded Cajun. There are Cajuns in New Orleans, as well as New Yorkers, Bostonians and refugees from Hollywood; thus sounding like any of those is okay, but if the whole cast sounded as if they were from Manhattan it would be less off putting than the whole cast sounding as if they grew up in Saint Martinville. In fact, one of the prominent accents of New Orleans sounds a lot like you grew up in the Bronx. So a New York accent would have worked better. I guess it is an improvement over many films which have everybody in Louisiana speaking with a stereotypical southern drawl, like one might hear in Alabama or even more annoying, the Mid Atlantic Foghorn Leghorn stereotype. Still it wasn’t a good Cajun accent anyway. For all I know the actor who played the local cop was Cajun, and trying not to lose his accent for a change made it feel unnatural. I have no clue, but it detracted, though not fatally.

Why does it matter? I don’t know that it does. Maybe one of the reasons it does is that a southern accent is adopted when people want to talk down about someone, as if good english with a southern accent still marks you as “dumb.” I have to admit, the fact that I don’t sound to many people as “southern” helps in many situations. Mind boggling prejudice against southerners still exist:

In her part of the country, both women and black people are seen as subhuman objects to be used and abused by white men.

Admittedly, most people who hold that prejudice are as extreme as Amanda Marcotte, but it isn’t something I want associated with me in any way, but it is still there. So yeah, it helps not to have the stereotypical accent at times.

Of course I am something of an accent chameleon. I can’t go to Britain, or New York without quickly beginning to adopt aspects of the accent, which means it is invariably a bad one, which means I am pretty easy on such habits in others. So in following Glenn Reynolds’ link to Hillary’s speech and the horrid southern accent, my first reaction was sympathy. I do that as well. Except, not really. I don’t adopt it to that extreme, unless I am telling a Boudreaux and Thibodeaux joke:

One day Boudreaux and Thibodeaux were watching TV. A good commercial about a movie came on and it said, “Coming To A Theater Near You.” Boudreaux looked at Thibodeaux and said, “Thib, how they know where we live?”

One could argue such things reinforce stereotypes, but maybe recognizing and being mockingly aware of that stereotype undermines them more. Feel free to argue.

Either way it is mocking, and listening to Hillary (someone who lived in the South for many many years) adopt a fake, and a badly faked, accent is off putting. As a Southerner it makes me wince, but I still wonder, caught up in the moment, would it just come out with me? I don’t know, though I hope it would be a better accent if it did. Hillary needs the South. Emphasizing the Southern aspects of her personality could be a plus, including allowing the southern cadences of her speech to emerge more naturally. Sounding as if she is adopting an accent more reminiscent of a cheap TV movie of the week set in Mississippi will upset more than it helps. She isn’t supposed to be a version of the Yankee telling a Boudreaux and Thibodeaux joke.

Update: Since some of my commenters seem convinced there is a big political point being made here, which was not my intention, though I understand it has some potential implications, or that I am slamming Hillary (which I will surely do at some point, but not here, quite the opposite) I suggest for a direct and interesting political analysis going to Classical Values and reading Eric Scheie’s post.

More: Joe Tobacco, Like me, has a certain amount of sympathy for Hillary, and I assume Obama, on this as well.

Some More: From GM Roper we get an update on a classic Boudreaux and Thibodeaux joke.

Still More: Eric gives us more stories from the prejudice against southerners front, with a search for the not so elusive Instacracker slur thrown in.

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103 Responses to “The Southern Accent-Updated again some more, with still more thrown in!”

  1. on 05 Mar 2007 at 6:01 pm Kinch

    If one wants to hear what an authentic New Orleans accent sounds like, listen to Harry Connick, Jr. when he’s not doing an accent.

    I’m originally from Baton Rouge and have lived in New Orleans for thirteen-years and have yet to hear a Cajun accent nor the Southern Belle accents you usually hear on TV. With all the movies filmed here in the last few years one would think that Hollywood would get it right.

    I guess popular stereotypes die hard.

  2. on 05 Mar 2007 at 6:07 pm denny

    This is bizarre. Everything about this is just wrong: the tone, the cadence, everything. In fact, it’s so bad as to be a little bit incredible, like the audio equivalent of a Photoshop moment.

    Why would someone like Hil not hire a dialect coach? Surely a good dc would be easy to find in NYC.

  3. on 05 Mar 2007 at 6:19 pm James Stephenson

    The reason they do not change the stereotype is because it is not politically correct to do so. The south and white men are the only groups people are allowed to make fun of and believe in. Which is why you get stupidity, like Amanda saying we abuse women and black people. It is stupid to think so.

    Yes I have an accent, I am from Georgia and as a Staff Sergeant from Hawiii told me, keep the accent it is part of my heritage. He was Samoan and felt that things that are part of your heritage is nothing to be ashamed about. But, it does not mean I can not laugh about the stereotypes as much as a yankee. After all, I loved the Beverly Hillbillies growing up. Even at a young age I knew the characters they were playing were false.

  4. on 05 Mar 2007 at 6:20 pm James Stephenson

    And then I go and fat finger Hawaii. Let’s have a laugh at the dumb southerner, hehe.

  5. on 05 Mar 2007 at 6:22 pm the commodore

    Two movies with dreadful Louisiana accents:

    1. ‘The Big Easy’–just plain painful to watch. A lot of the accents are just standard ‘Southern’ accents: “Wail, I do de-clay-yuh, suh” (Translation: “Well, I do declare, sir”

    2. ‘Purple Rain’ – a bit more subtle but glaring nevertheless. The female lead (don’t remember the character’s name but she is played by Appolonia) is asked by Prince where she is from and she responds ‘New Orleans’ but she says it in a way that NO New Orleans native would ever pronounce it! (”New Ore-Lee-Uns” instead of what I consider the native pronunciation of “Nawlins”)

  6. on 05 Mar 2007 at 6:31 pm Gordon Daugherty

    To me, a pure NO accent does sound a lot like Brooklyn or Bronx (at least to me). I have 3-4 friends who are born-bred in NO and when I first met them, I couldn’t figure out why they didn’t sound southern. That accent is pretty much native to inside the city; a ways outside and it quickly becomes the regional accent.

    Another thing about southern accents is the ‘r’ sound: in the deep south, it has an ‘ah’ sound, as in the number 4–”foah”. Farther west, north, and to some extent northeast, it’s a hard ‘r’–”for”.

    The people I’ve known from AR, including some rural relatives in Yell County, say “for”. I do believe Miss Hillary done missed out there–sounded to me like she was trying to imitate a black accent.

  7. on 05 Mar 2007 at 6:33 pm William Oliver

    Sometimes “bad” southern accents are not a matter of fakery but of upbringing. I have been accused of having a bad or fake southern accent, but it’s just the way I talk. I was born in California to “Okies” who had come to California from Oklahoma (and whose ancestors in turn had moved to Indian Territory from Georgia and North Carolina as refugees immediately after the War Between the States). Later in life, I moved back to Oklahoma to be with my extended family and now, oddly enough, live in Georgia near where my family has older roots.

    When I go to California, folk ask me if I come from Oklahoma (if they know that accent) or from the South. When I go to Oklahoma, people ask me if I come from California. In Georgia, they all just think I’m a Yankee.

  8. on 05 Mar 2007 at 6:44 pm the commodore

    To me, a pure NO accent does sound a lot like Brooklyn or Bronx (at least to me).

    Very very true! The New Orleans accent is very much a ‘city’ accent and not a ‘rural’ accent.

    When I tell people that I’m from Lousiana (New Iberia) they always say “Funny, you don’t have an accent” and I always reply that I went to Anchorman School to learn to speak generic-ly.

  9. on 05 Mar 2007 at 6:45 pm Redneck Hillbilly

    I love being a sterotypical hillbilly from east Kentucky. It’s better than being southern. I can’t hardly talk at all but there ain’t no high expectations either.

  10. on 05 Mar 2007 at 6:49 pm Lance


    It is good to hear from someone from Baton Rouge. I live in Spanish Town myself.


    You are certainly correct. I know people from Virginia who have the Foghorn Leghorn accent, if they don’t sound quite so haughty as the legendary rooster. I actually lived for a couple of years in Oklahoma, as well as 15 in Texas.

    Hillary however is a northerner who lived in Arkansas. It just doesn’t work, and it isn’t how she normally speaks. As I said above, I have a certain sympathy with her, it is really easy to fall into a local accent. I don’t think she was intending anything, she probably just got caught up in the moment. I certainly don’t want to get caught up in playing the victim, the poor trod on southerner, nor should African Americans either. We have too many people taking offense too easily already in this country.

    I am just musing about it and thinking out loud about why I take offense when things like this happen, and I suggest, if Hillary wants to shed her image as a carpetbagger that she should be careful. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth whether it is fair or not.


    Yeah, the accents in The Big Easy were atrocious. Their is a lot of filming in Louisiana these days. Brad and Angelina have one set in New Orleans, there are three being filmed in one of my favorite places in the world, St. Francisville, so I hope they get it right. It is funny though, even when they use locals the accents sound different. As if the directors make them change how they talk to sound more “southern” or Cajun. Sounding like you are from Baton Rouge or St. Francisville just isn’t good enough. They need us to be more real than real.

  11. on 05 Mar 2007 at 6:54 pm david still

    accent or not; right or wrong–what is mostly wrong in and around New Orleans is not the accent but what Bush and gang did not do to help that city when it needed it and has yet to help fully…in his last appearsnce he said:
    We have not forgotten you. Money is in the pipleline (yea, we used to say, in the mail)
    pause in your snarkiness and think about what did not get done and what still is not done and how the Big Guy himself (Bush?) never even got around to visit after this major diaster. Then you can make fun of accents

  12. on 05 Mar 2007 at 6:54 pm Lance

    I love being a sterotypical hillbilly from east Kentucky. It’s better than being southern. I can’t hardly talk at all but there ain’t no high expectations either.

    Heh, well I agree with you. I actually like the strong accents of Louisiana. Listening to the accents of Cajun country is quite a pleasure, and I can adopt it to some extent, and often do unintentionally when in a crowd of them, hence my sympathy with Hillary. I hadn’t considered the upside of the prejudice, but now that you say it it is true. I have had people remark with surprise that I don’t fit their stereotype from the south and react in a good way. The soft bigotry of low expectations has its ups as well as downs I guess.

  13. on 05 Mar 2007 at 6:57 pm Gordon Daugherty

    #7: You’re right about the Okies; I am half Okie on the mother’s side. Her mother in turn was the one born in Yell Co AR, one of 11 children. My grandmother educated herself out of that arkie accent but many others had a very heavy drawl, I’ll call it.

    My uncle would say things like “shore ’nuff”. My great aunt would always make me smile when she said “you-uns” instead of “y’all”. I was always told most okies’ ancestors (except for the Cherokee) migrated from AR, TN, and KY and settled there or in N Texas (as my grandfather’s family did).

    Where I used to live in Bay City TX, that is just about the western edge of the Old South. Settlers there came mostly from MS, AL, and GA, often coming with their slaves. In the time of Stephen and Moses Austin there were very large sugar plantations in that area, based on land grants given by the Mexican govt. There were many southern accents there as well as customs such as addressing elderly women as “miss”, as in: “Good morning, Miss Kate; how’s your arthritis today?”

    Growing up in Corpus Christi, just 120 miles away, I was surprised to see how much different the accents and customs there were from the coastal bend region of TX.

  14. on 05 Mar 2007 at 7:03 pm Lance


    Uh, what is that about? If you found the post snarky, it was not my intention, and I apologize for that. I certainly am not making fun of accents, I am intending to celebrate them, and am thinking about why we feel the way we do. So I don’t get the hostility or what it has to do with New Orleans recovery at all. You seem to be reading things into this.

  15. on 05 Mar 2007 at 7:03 pm the commodore

    Dave Still–you from Louisiana? If you were, you would know that the State and the City of NO were built and thrive on incompetence. How else can you explain not declaring a state of emergency prior to a storm like this? Not ordering a mandatory evacuation prior to a storm like this? Sending people to a shelter with no supplies? A mayor who takes a two week vacation during the midst of the crisis? An incompetent governor who was obviously a deer in the headlights?

    You suffer from the typical MSM brainwashing–blame the 3rd responders for the sins of the first responders…

  16. on 05 Mar 2007 at 7:04 pm Achillea

    Two movies with dreadful Louisiana accents:

    For the sake of your sanity, stay away from Con Air. Far, far away.

  17. on 05 Mar 2007 at 7:26 pm the commodore

    For the sake of your sanity, stay away from Con Air. Far, far away.

    I *think* I’ve seen this. Is it Nicholas Cage doing his standard Elvis Presley doing a Cajun accent of some sort? I think I’ve repressed this memory…

  18. on 05 Mar 2007 at 7:28 pm Lance

    I think I’ve repressed this memory

    We all have our coping mechanisms. And yes, you have the movie right.

  19. on 05 Mar 2007 at 7:39 pm Svolich

    And any film with Adam Sandler. It doesn’t matter if he’s really trying to play Cajun (The Water Boy) or something else entirely (the Son of Satan in “Little Nickey”) his dialect is some bizzaro Bronx/Southern/Canadian thing.

    The thing that got me about Clinton’s speech was the way she said the word “the.” Not “thuh” like any normal person, but “Thee.” GW Bush does the same thing, it’s the reason he comes off so stilted and artificial.

  20. [...] Update: More on this from Lance. [...]

  21. on 05 Mar 2007 at 8:45 pm GM Roper

    Boudreaux be sitting at de bar one day and in walk Hillary Clinton down ta Louisianna to get her sef’ some votes. Boudreaux say “Hey, Hillary, how many doh’s you see in dis place?”
    Hillary say “De’re be two do’hs Boudreaux, de fron’ do’h and the back do’ why you ax?”
    Boudreaux he say “You wrong Hillary, de’re be tree doh’s here. Bet you $20.00″
    Hillary, she slap down $20.00 on de bar and say “You on Boudreaux.”

    Boudreaux, he say “Aw-righ,” ‘n Boudreaux he slap down $20.00 too.

    Boudreaux, he say. “De’re be de fron’ do’h and de back do’h” Hillary say “Yeah!” and Boudreaux, he say “and dis”… reachin’ down picking up de spittoon and say “Dis be d’ Cuspidoh.” Boudreaux he pocket de $40.00 and walk away.

    In walk Thibodeaux ‘n Hillary say “Hey, Thibodeaux, how many do’h be in dis place?”

    Thibodeaux, he say “Two do’h, de Fron’ do’h and de back do’h.” ‘N Hillary say “Betcha $40.00 dey be tree do’h in dis place,” and she slap $40.00 on de bar.

    Well, ole Thibodeaux he grin big, cause he gonna make $40.00 and he slap $40.00 on de bar too. Thibodeaux say “Show me.”

    Hillary she say “Dere be de fron’ do’h and de back do’h right?”

    Thibodeaux say “Yeah!”

    Hillary she say “And de’re be dis…” she reach down, pick up de spittoon and slam in on de bar nex to da $80.00 and say “dis a …. uhhh, dis a…. uhhhh… well, I be damn’ed. Dis here spittoon done coss me $60.00 today.

  22. on 05 Mar 2007 at 9:15 pm Jack Deth

    Hi, lance:

    For all I know the actor who played the local cop was Cajun, and trying not to lose his accent for a change made it feel unnatural. I have no clue, but it detracted, though not fatally.

    I believe the actor who played the local NO cop was actually born in West Virginia. His name escapes me, but he’s been a regular on FX’s “Dirt”, so just search the show on IMDb.


  23. on 05 Mar 2007 at 9:25 pm Lance

    Well, I was actually cheating and hoping someone would look it up for me, since it doesn’t matter to my point, though I was curious. Sometimes…okay, lots of times, we bloggers are lazy.

    Thanks Jack for the info. I haven’t seen dirt, though he looked familiar. He wasn’t bad in general or anything, just a local being picky.

  24. on 05 Mar 2007 at 9:57 pm Keith

    Your comments on Baton Rouge accents hit the mark. I was raised there (here) but discovered that NO ONE can place the accent (or lack thereof) absent clues like the ones you mention. For my law school classmates in DC, it was only the term “fixin’”, the fact that I opened doors for females and my ability to hurt a bottle of Jack Daniels like it owed me money) that narrowed it down to a southern point of origin. After school and a military tour out of the south, I confess that I now find it painful to listen to a truly hardcore redneck accent (think northern ‘Bama) without wincing. The ONLY thing more grating is, as you point out, a fake southern accent. I’ve deleted all mental landmarks that might reawaken memories of Kevin Spacey in “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”, or Dennis Quaid in (take your pick) “Great Balls of Fire” and/or “The Big Easy” (insert shudder here). How Baton Rouge, and to some extent St. Tammany Parish, have developed as accent-free islands in Louisiana would make for interesting research. Especially if you confined your research to N.O. and Baton Rouge watering holes like the Pasttime.

  25. on 05 Mar 2007 at 10:03 pm Lance

    I have had all kinds of speculative theories on this over the years, as have my friends. I would throw in much of West Feliciana as well, though that is because so many from Baton Rouge live up there, including my parents. Maybe it is a factor of being surrounded by so many strong, but quite different accents. We are in the middle, and where many have moved to. It all kind of mixes together and blands out? I am sure a linguist would make fun of that. It is very strange.

  26. on 05 Mar 2007 at 10:09 pm Charlton Hawking

    related topic:

    Who thinks the South a wasteland?”

  27. on 05 Mar 2007 at 10:26 pm Timothy

    My accent shifts around a lot, mostly because of my family. My mother’s parents, who I spent a lot of time with in Houston as a small child, are both from Tennessee. My grandfather mostly lost his accent on purpose, but my grandmother sounds like a stereotypical southern belle. My mom mostly grew up in San Angelo, but my dad is from Minnesota. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest for the most part, but now I live in Texas…depending on what I’m doing and to whom I’m speaking my accent varies.

    My girlfriend gets no end of amusement teasing me about this.

  28. on 05 Mar 2007 at 10:41 pm Lance

    Timothy and Charlton,

    It is good to see both of you here.

    Timothy, I hope you stick with this story until the air force relents. I would hate to not see her talents utilized to their fullest.

  29. on 05 Mar 2007 at 10:44 pm AB

    Since this seems to be old home week for the Baton Rouge crowd…is there anybody here remember the old bar on 19th Street called
    Chris’ Bar?
    It was there that I first heard the theory epressed that North Louisiana started at Florida Blvd.

  30. on 05 Mar 2007 at 10:59 pm Kinch

    Anyone who says that Baton Rougeans have no accent haven’t spent much time there.

    An old college roommate of mine put it best.

    Baton Rougeans talk like they have a mouth full of shit.

    I can’t say that I talk that way. In fact, many have noted my lack of of an accent. (Although my wife criticizes me for pronouncing “Looziana) I guess I can credit my lack of an accent to the fact that I actually grew up in Iberville Parish (the wrong side if the bayou, if you will) and have family from both north and south Louisiana. You see, my father is of German and French heritage (not Cajun mind you)and practiced Catholicism. My mother is from Winn Parish and is of Scots-Irish ancestry and were non-practicing Southern Baptists. That probably makes me half Coonass and half Redneck, which means that I have in my front yard a pirogue on cinder blocks.

    But also I guess it made me sensitive to people’s accents and thus sensitive to when I spoke with an accent.

    But now that I work in New Orleans in an office with a lot of highly educated people who speak with little or no accent, I actually to inject a little of my rural upbringing into my speech patterns so that people will notice my background. In other words, instead of trying to fit in, I’d rather find ways that make me stand apart.

    Also, as Ken Hamblin once said, “when someone from the South says ‘I’m just a simple country boy.”, put your hand on your wallet.”

  31. on 05 Mar 2007 at 11:04 pm Lance


    I would love to talk about old bar’s in Baton Rouge, but I wasn’t a patron of Chris’. I do however still miss The Bayou, my virtual home for many years.

  32. on 05 Mar 2007 at 11:12 pm Lance

    Anyone who says that Baton Rougeans have no accent haven’t spent much time there.

    I wouldn’t say we have no accent, and many people do have a strong accent because they grew up somewhere else. It is just not a strong one or easily placed geographically. Most people guess the Midwest, but not sure where, since Midwesterners have peculiar accents as well. I don’t know that I agree with your characterization, but perception is variable is it not?

    Also, as Ken Hamblin once said, “when someone from the South says ‘I’m just a simple country boy.”, put your hand on your wallet.”

    The problem in Louisiana is these guys keep getting elected, see the Long’s or Edwin Edwards. Of course, that was easier back when you could “put a chicken in every pot” by slapping a tax on oil. Now it comes from our pocketbooks and populist appeals and colorful politics (also known as corruption or outright theft) are not just a spectator sport. We are all participants now.

  33. on 05 Mar 2007 at 11:13 pm Eric Scheie

    Thanks for the link! You might be interested in reading about some very condescending behavior in Nashville by a noted leftie blogger in 2005:

  34. on 05 Mar 2007 at 11:21 pm AB


    I remeber the Bayou…they used to have a band
    called the “Shitdogs” that played there in the late 70’s. Seems like everytime I found myself there I was in a state of incoherence bordering on stupification. I love the Library next door with the Joe’s Special.

  35. on 05 Mar 2007 at 11:31 pm Kinch

    I remember The Bayou and the Library but more often I hung out at The Chimes. That is, when I could afford it. Which means The Caterie was most often my favorite hangout. Live bands with no cover meant all I had to pay for was my beer. And for whatever girl I happen to meet that evening.

  36. on 05 Mar 2007 at 11:47 pm Lance

    My first “Shit Dogs” reference here. Actually, they played into the late ’80’s at least. I saw “The Lyres,” “REM,” and, a bunch of other bands there. I remember a killer version of “These Boots were made for Walking” (requested by Robby) just before the song went through a mini-revival by “Dash Riprock” at the Chimes. The lead singer turned with his eyes wide to Robby and said “killer request!” They then proceeded to rip the song limb from limb. Robby had spent a good year requesting it and couldn’t get anybody to do so.

    I remember talking to the lead singer of “Soul Asylum” at The Chimes (circa 1986) but he wanted to go to the Bayou and hang out instead. It was fun.

    Robby and I have an old single of the “Lower Chakra’s” “36 Flags over Jesus” an ‘ode to Swaggartville. Talk about an unknown nugget. Eventually we are going to get it converted to digital and put it up on the website.

    I saw so many bands at those two bars it would take me hours.

    The Library was great as well. My favorite was the Blue. Roast Beef dripping with gravy and blue cheese dressing, a real classic.

    Seems like everytime I found myself there I was in a state of incoherence bordering on stupification.

    That was you?

    I spent most nights there, though I did wander to the other bars on the street as well. The Bayou was a hole in the wall, but it was always filled with an eclectic and bizarre crowd. Bikers, college kids, skate punks, old guys, hippies, whatever. it was also cheap. Great Music except when Wildman or Demon decided we needed to listen to an entire album of Hawkwind. (and of course Wildman and Demon were at times two different people, but then one left and the other took up the Wildman sobriquet, or something like that.)

  37. on 05 Mar 2007 at 11:58 pm AB

    By the time the late 80’s rolled around I found myself settled down on the Canadian border in Norhtern New York. It’s cold, but I do love to ski.

    Seems like everytime I found myself there I was in a state of incoherence bordering on stupification.

    That was you?

    Why, did I drool on you?

    What was the name of the bar that was on the west end of Chimes street that moved out to Government Street? Was it Phil’s or was that just the owners name?

  38. on 06 Mar 2007 at 12:46 am beb

    I grew up about 100 miles outside New Orleans and lived a few years in Baton Rouge. New Orleans was our playground and so I feel fairly familiar with it.

    One thing that drives me crazy is that after the movie “Big Easy” came out, the term “N’awlins” became preferred by tourists. Living in LA now, I can’t stand it when people throw that out. I’m sure there are all kinds of variations on the name, in Mississippi it seems people leaned towards “New Orleeeens” but I never heard “N’awlins” like I do now. Maybe I led a sheltered life.

  39. on 06 Mar 2007 at 12:55 am Lance

    I think it is because when you are from someplace else you don’t notice when someone says New Orleans in a way that is pretty familiar, but when you hear N’awlins it sticks out. It somehow sounds more authentic, as if everyone in New Orleans is a Yat. I understand it, but it grates to hear someone from somewhere else tell me that that is how locals say it and act all in the know. It is really petty, but who says we can’t have a few petty feelings.

  40. on 06 Mar 2007 at 1:09 am Robby

    Comment is reposted below with corrected link.

  41. on 06 Mar 2007 at 1:20 am Lance

    Damn, I said Wildman? I am getting old.

    Thanks for the link. I have been wondering where those were.

  42. on 06 Mar 2007 at 1:23 am Lance

    Uh, check that. The link went to a search page.

  43. on 06 Mar 2007 at 1:40 am Robby

    Lance, it was “Madman,” not “Wildman.” But your music anecdotes are 100% accurate.

    Here is a link to photos of the fire that destroyed the Bayou.

    Re: Baton Rouge accents: The most annoying question I get is when a stranger (upon discovering my southern origins) asks, “Where’s your accent?” As if I’m lacking something. It’s not really offensive, but I always feel like I’m being put on the spot, like I have to explain why I don’t talk the way someone else supposes I should.

    Also, it’s not as if anyone who asks has any intent to offend…at best they’re actually curious, at worst they’re just flapping their jaws. But most of the people who ask me to account for the whereabouts of my accent would never think of saying to someone, “Wow! You don’t sound black!” Which is not exactly the same thing, but it’s pretty close.

  44. on 06 Mar 2007 at 2:17 am Lance

    Those pictures still hit home. I may have to do a post. I think everybody from Baton Rouge should gather from our friends any The Bayou anecdotes, pictures and remembrances we can get together and I’ll put up a Bayou memorial page.

    Does anybody know Steven Soderbergh? I only met him a couple of times, so he won’t remember me but not only was he a Bayou guy, he has some great pictures somewhere from when he used it in “Sex, lies and Videotape.”

  45. on 06 Mar 2007 at 2:30 am b

    Lance, what I find off putting when one tries to adapt to another’s accent is in-authenticity. I’d never try a cajun accent outside my very best friends. Yet because I spent my childhood in New Hampshire, I can seamlessly fall back into that pattern of speech. When I visit family in Chicago, it takes me a while, but eventually I’ll re-learned that accent.

    When I college, we used to use southern accents (well Texan – Durango was a frequent destination for Texas skiers) and almost always it was either used mockingly, or as part of a punch line. And upon reflection, mimicking another’s accent is almost always either of those two. The one thing I’ve found however is people rarely try to pull off speaking with an accent of which they are unfamiliar – it just doesn’t work.

    And it is that that I take from Hillary’s speech in Selma. She tried something that just didn’t work. No big negatives as far as I’m concerned, other than a reinforcement of what I’ve always believed best describes Clintonian politics – Pretension.

  46. on 06 Mar 2007 at 2:33 am Jim Piper


    Lived in New Iberia 35 years ago, a displaced Seattle native. But I loved it, some of the finest and generous people I ever met. Swear if I still lived there I would weigh 600 lbs eating all that wonderful food. Daughter was born there. Good memories, I hope the place has not changed to much. Oh, I never picked up the accent.


  47. on 06 Mar 2007 at 3:55 am Kinch

    I didn’t frequent The Bayou very much but the memory of the place that sticks with me the most is also of my first visit.

    It was New Years Eve, 1985. Shortly after entering and noticing the counter-culture atmosphere that I had expected, I was struck by a scene I hardly expected. Standing in the middle of the place were two guys in business suite (they looked like businessmen too) holding tin cups and asking for “Money for the revolution”. I laughed my ass off. Nothing else really stood out after that.

    No, I didn’t give them any money.

  48. on 06 Mar 2007 at 4:06 am Lance

    That sounds like The Bayou for sure.

  49. on 06 Mar 2007 at 5:38 am peter jackson


  50. on 06 Mar 2007 at 5:56 am B. Durbin

    I love when an accent is well-researched and done well. In Buffy the Vampire Slayer there is a notable one that sounds made-up— sort of the unholy cross of an Irish and a Jamaican accent— that is the actual accent of a location in the Caribbean.

    On the other hand, you can’t be too picky. I’m currently in a Gilbert & Sullivan production, and I am sure the pseudo-British accent will vary all over the place, as usual. Sometimes with the same person. Ah, well.

  51. on 06 Mar 2007 at 6:46 am Lance


    Robby reposted the link in his subsequent comment.

  52. on 06 Mar 2007 at 2:37 pm Peter Jackson

    Thanks. I was confused. And damn, what a bloody mess. I guess you really can’t go home again.

    Well, maybe a little. Here’s the Bayou’s orphaned site. Sort of like a cyber tombstone in a way. $1.50 longnecks? Boy those days are long gone…


  53. on 06 Mar 2007 at 2:50 pm Lance

    Cool Pete, great find!

  54. on 07 Mar 2007 at 9:57 pm Mark

    N’awlins? Where dat, dawlin? My mother, a New Iberian that lost her cajun accent to get a job, called it New Orleeuns. I grew up calling it New Orleeens. N’awlins is for tourists. Wish I could say I kept my accent, but I sound more southern now, from living in Florida and Virgina. But I still drink “red drinks”, make groceries, and tell all that real donuts are square.

  55. on 07 Mar 2007 at 10:26 pm Lance

    Yummm, Beignets!

  56. on 07 Mar 2007 at 10:57 pm Kinch

    $1.50 longnecks?

    Boy, I remember $1.00 longnecks.

  57. on 07 Mar 2007 at 11:04 pm Lance


    I remember going to the “Le Bon Temps Roulez” in New Orleans in 1983-84 when from 4-8 on Fridays you could get 25 cent draft and all the oysters you could eat for free. No strings attached. Robby and I would spend $1.50 to $2.00 apiece and be well fortified for a Friday evening out partying.

  58. on 07 Mar 2007 at 11:23 pm the commodore

    But I still drink “red drinks”, make groceries, and tell all that real donuts are square

    When you pull your car up to the grocery store, do you “get down” and once you get home, do you “save the groceries”?

  59. on 10 Mar 2007 at 9:52 pm chicagocheesedoff

    I thought she was from Chicaga – I’m not sure that nasally upper midwestern tone flies very well with most voters either…. too close to being from Boston or NYC. Although the Kennedy clan sure made hay with it.
    Only the real southerners could tell she was faking it right?….;)
    Hell I figured that slow thick foghorn leghorn drawl was a chick magnet (or dude, or voter depending)… I’ve been practicing for years in the shower and I’m still afraid to whip it out in public! I say its a bawl boy…

    Make the groceries – I LOVE THAT!
    My singular memory from several vacations in NO was the hotelier tell me that their washatariat was broken and that there was a perfectly servicable washatariat around the corner… hunh?! All I want to do is wash my pants. Damn funny for a midwesterner.
    Now I’m stuck in Shel-in Connecticut…. an easier accent to pick out there never was.

    All you jagoffs beat it! Trying to make off with my soda.

  60. on 31 Mar 2007 at 11:19 pm Droolski

    And then there’s… “where you be at” and “what time it is”. For sure!

    Ah, double drunk nights at The Bayou.

    So broke in college, me and a buddy set on “Poodle Hill” across the street and drank beer from the Shell station from our backpacks as REM played inside because we could afford the $3 cover. And let’s not forget all the times The Cramps came to town to play there on Halloween, or the Fleshtones blowing the fuse box and doing an “unplugged” set while meandering through the crowd, or sneaking into the Girl’s bathroom and… hehehaha!! How about the “classic” graffiti in the Boy’s room? That could be a coffee table book in itself!

    But when the Shit Dogs where playing “at home”, it was always an event to behold. Or at least that’s how I remember it?!

    Too many dollars and brain cells spent within the walls of that establishment… but what great memories to show for it!

    Alien Droolski

  61. on 01 Apr 2007 at 2:56 pm Lance


    It is good to hear from a real Bayou denizen. I am also jealous. I never saw the Craamps on Halloween.

  62. on 01 Apr 2007 at 3:00 pm beb

    Ah, The Bayou. Used to love hanging out there. I’ve often wondered if the US Times are still around. I still have one of their albums.

  63. on 01 Apr 2007 at 3:04 pm Lance


    No, Gino Luti is doing other things these days. Good band. 

  64. on 01 Apr 2007 at 3:29 pm peter jackson

    I’ve often wondered if the US Times are still around. I still have one of their albums.

    I want
    I want
    I want
    I wanta go to London!

  65. on 01 Apr 2007 at 4:04 pm beb

    I Want To Go to London was a great song! How about “I’m An Actor”? I still tell people about that song.

    let me try to remember.

    I’m an actor
    Not in movies
    I’m an actor
    This aint Broadway.
    I’m an Actor
    I’m acting normal
    I act OK.

  66. on 01 Apr 2007 at 4:41 pm Lance


    Hey, if you have the albums, any chance you could get it burned and send me the CD or an e-mail of the mp3’s? I would love to do a post on them, and put up the tracks for the uninitiated (just about everybody, even in Baton Rouge)  to get a chance to listen. 

  67. on 01 Apr 2007 at 4:55 pm beb

    Would love to but unfortunately my vinyl is in MS and I am in CA. Next time I am back I’ll try to remember and dig it out.

  68. on 01 Apr 2007 at 5:24 pm Lance

    That would be fantastic. If you get to MS give me a shout and make a little trip to BR. I’ll buy the beer.

  69. on 02 Apr 2007 at 4:37 am Robby

    Lance, I still have the US Times test pressing. Look a little closer to home, why don’t cha?

    You mentioned a friend who converts vinyl to mp3…I have other rarities that that needs to happen to as well.

  70. on 02 Apr 2007 at 8:36 pm Robby

    I just checked, and I do have the Lower Chakras’ "36 Flags", "You Bet" by the Shitdogs, and the Bas Clas single with "Serfin’ USA". Sadly, I own no Dick Nixons.

  71. on 02 Apr 2007 at 9:12 pm david still

    bundh of dudes getting on in years and looking bak to the "good old days."

  72. on 02 Apr 2007 at 9:15 pm david still

    My guess is that New Orleans will never recover fully and willbe but a fake shell of what it was. Which, by the way, was not all that great unless you liked being drunk most of the time

  73. on 02 Apr 2007 at 9:26 pm Lance

    bundh of dudes getting on in years and looking bak to the "good old days."

    True, does that bother you for some reason? 

    My guess is that New Orleans will never recover fully and willbe but a fake shell of what it was.

    Maybe, but a bit off topic, but an improvement over whatever you were talking about before.

    Which, by the way, was not all that great unless you liked being drunk most of the time

    To each his own. I love New Orleans, I enjoyed living there, and I certainly wasn’t drunk most of the time. It isn’t a requirement, though many tourists seem to think so.

  74. on 02 Apr 2007 at 9:43 pm beb

    bundh of dudes getting on in years and looking bak to the “good old days.”

    Eh, did you not have any?

    My guess is that New Orleans will never recover fully and willbe but a fake shell of what it was. Which, by the way, was not all that great unless you liked being drunk most of the time

    I can see why you wouldn’t want to look back at the good old days.

    Welcome to the party sunshine.

  75. on 02 Apr 2007 at 9:52 pm Robby

    Thanks, Mr. Still, for the attempted threadjacking. No more talking about the Lower Chakras until New Orleans is completely rebuilt! And even then, it won’t be that great unless you’re a drunk!

    But what really stings is that you called us OLD. I’m going to go cry now.

  76. on 04 Apr 2007 at 12:44 pm david still

    There is a standard American "accent" that is located in and around the middle wes and it consists mainly of very small traces of any accent. This is the standard for TV announcers, for example. Would you want your news delivered with a strong southern accent if you lived in New York? or a Brookly accent if you lived in Utah ? etc  get over you silly accents and become American!

  77. on 04 Apr 2007 at 1:02 pm Lance

    That was kind of, part of, my point about accents David. I am from Baton Rouge and generally most people assume when they talk to me I am from somewhere in the midwest, because I don’t have what they consider to be a southern accent. You should re-read the post. 

    More importantly I consider a Brooklyn accent (which sounds a lot like some areas in New Orleans) quite American, as does a Georgian drawl. The Midwest accent is no more nor less American, though mine sounds pretty close to it. 

  78. on 04 Apr 2007 at 6:11 pm Robby

    Are we being reported to the House Committee on Un-American Accents? Because I know a lot of people who talk funny, and I will supply names!

    Let’s start with Lance, who tries to hide behind that faux-Brokaw voice, but I have heard him say "ya’ll." And "boudin."

  79. on 04 Apr 2007 at 6:24 pm beb

    Its never been suggested that I was an “accentist”. Where can I get counseling?

  80. on 08 Apr 2007 at 11:45 pm

    I know exactly how you feel, I’m from New Orleans too and I don’t really have a strong accent either! I temporarily live in Dallas,Tx and many people barely ask me where I’m from!  I guess that New Orleans does have alot of different accents oh yeah and ”Nawlins” is stereotype. People are expecting ignorant, Cajun , ”White trash”, ”Ghetto” and etc.  I mean the only way you can figure out where I’m from is by the way I use my language. l.o.l . Oh yeah and 2 all u haters out there stop putting down New Orleans! If yall hate it soo much why do many tourist visit the place come on now! And don’t say Mardi Gras, Bourbon and the food. There is more to it than that!

  81. on 08 Apr 2007 at 11:46 pm

    lil miss belle

  82. on 14 Apr 2007 at 4:03 am Hans from the Times

    Interesting notes…I was the guitar play for the U.S. Times, and I have a closet full of live tapes if anybody is interested.  (It probably ain’t as good as you remember in your younger mind-altered days!).  Sure was fun, though!Yeah, I remember those days with the Shitdogs, Bas Clas, the Bayou, etc…from Baton Rouge circa late 70’s early 80’s.  What a time! 

  83. on 14 Apr 2007 at 4:11 am Lance

    How incredibly cool. Hans, e-mail me. Robby and I are working on something and think you could help us. 

    It was fun though. I think its pretty cool you ended up on this little thread. 

  84. on 18 Oct 2007 at 8:49 pm samantha

    I too would be very interested in obtaining/purchasing copies of U.S. Times music…my cassette of “Wanna go to London” was irrepairably destroyed on a move to Chicago…only a few years ago, I miss it very much.

  85. on 11 Jul 2008 at 3:08 pm Diane

    Oooooh, homesick, homesick!
    I’ve been away for 20 years, and though I’ve been back since (most recently to N.O. in ‘04), I am itching to go back. Before I went through theater classes, I had a distinctive B.R. accent. I hear it in my friends when I speak to those who still live there (who don’t have a cajun accent). It’s WAY better than the Nashville area accent, IMO. 
    For a brief time, there was a link to “Wanna Go To London” and “I’m an Actor” on, but it got yanked pretty quick. I also have decent transcripts to both songs posted on my blog (linked at my name), if anyone’s interested. I listened to them a bunch before they got yanked. Those are great songs, even if you ain’t drunk!

  86. on 11 Jul 2008 at 11:25 pm Robby

    Diane, we’re putting together a web site that will have all of that stuff (pictures, downloads, remembrances). Hans and Gino are collaborating with us on it and we hope to have it up within the next couple of months.

  87. on 19 Oct 2008 at 4:51 pm Gino

    OH,  so this is how ‘the chimes street project’ got started…hmmmm

  88. on 17 Dec 2008 at 4:11 pm Paul

    I burned the US Times albums on a CD with 2 songs from This Town cassette on it.  I use to have a liverecording of one of their reunion shows but I lost it,

  89. on 17 Dec 2008 at 4:54 pm kinch1

    I saw the US Times play at the Chimes once.  What a blast.  It was my first experience with slam dancing.

    The second time I saw them at the Chimes they had put away all their potted plants.  Few survived the first concert.

    Does anyone know if the US Times has any of their music available on the Internet?  Either download or CD.

  90. on 17 Dec 2008 at 5:46 pm Schrodinger's Cat

    I actually managed to find the Wanna Go To London album which I converted to MP3 a few months ago.  I don’t want to violate any rights by posting it online and I did try to contact Gino Luti in regards to this, but was unable to get any kind of reply.  I am under the impression that as long as I don’t charge any money it would be OK to privately share the files, but I could be wrong.  I would be happy to share my MP3 files, but I do have concerns regarding intellectual property issues and the like.

  91. on 17 Dec 2008 at 6:39 pm beb

    At this point in time, the commercial viability of the US Times music would only be enhanced by exposure.  I don’t anticipate any sudden explosion of sales for a regional band that is from such a long time ago. 

    On the other hand the chances of some big time scout looking for material for other artists or films etc. get raised if by oonly a teensy bit if more people are turning their friends on to a long gone but great band. 

    Gino may have a different opinion but it seems that financial opportunities the band would only be enhanced by sharing those mp3s.

  92. on 17 Dec 2008 at 7:13 pm Schrodinger's Cat

    well if someone has a place I could send the files I’d be more than happy to, or if I can figure out how to upload to pirate bay or something I’ll do that and post back the link.

  93. on 17 Dec 2008 at 7:17 pm beb

    The easiest way I think would be to upload it to a site like that allows for up to 100 mb for free.  people can download from that quickly.  It is only there for a week or so and you have to compress it with stuffit or such.  I’m thinking your final size is less than 100 mb.

  94. on 17 Dec 2008 at 10:30 pm Alien Droolski

    Schrodinger’s Cat… Upload ‘em to my server and I’ll create links so they can be downloaded.

    user: ustimes
    password: gino

    I’ll post a link here when the files are uploaded and accessible. Once I see the size and traffic (bandwidth), I’ll determine and post how long they will be available.


  95. on 18 Dec 2008 at 7:31 pm Schrodinger's Cat

    okie dokie, trying to upload them now, I must admit I’m useless at trying to create torrents so this is much easier.  These are .wav files  I was going to try and convert them to mp3 before uploading, but I’m getting slammed at work, and for some reason my mac file converter isn’t cooperating.

  96. on 21 Dec 2008 at 9:52 pm Hans of the Times

    For what it is worth, I am totally fine with any of you guys sharing any files you have of our music.  At this juncture any exposure is good exposure.  Share on…

  97. on 22 Dec 2008 at 9:16 am Schrodinger's Cat

    Thanks for the go-ahead.  It looks like the ftp transfer was successful, so hopefully they’ll be shareable soon.

  98. on 22 Dec 2008 at 11:47 am Alien Droolski

    US Times sound files now posted
    WAVE audio file format

  99. on 22 Dec 2008 at 11:52 am Alien Droolski

    PS. Thanks, Hans! Of course ALL the members of the Times deserve credit, too. And let’s all also thank Schrodinger’s Cat for creating and suppling the files posted.

  100. on 03 Jan 2009 at 10:23 pm Sasha

    This is all very interesting to me, as some of the most memorable years of my life were in the early 80’s in BR.  “I’ve had a good life” (from a Times song) but I do think of those times often.  Working at WPRG, seeing probably every show that ever played at The Bayou during 82 and 83 since it was a 2nd home to me.  I eventually wound up in Austin for nearly 20 years, along with Dave, Beau, Jay Robilliard, and Drew Martin ~ may he RIP.  And speaking of accents ~  Buffalo, NY, to Vicksburg, BR, Atlanta, Jackson, Houston, L.A., and now TN!  I know I have a hell of a southern accent of some sort, which I personally kinda like.  Now I’ll check out for some good ole memories!   If anyone who reads this knows how to reach Gino, please drop me a line.  Or drop him a line and ask him to contact me.  And Hans, your music HAS passed the test of time!  My son and all of his friends listen to my old US Times lps.

  101. on 29 Jan 2009 at 1:14 pm Leigh

    Every once in a while I search to find some info about the Times.  I’m looking for a song – I don’t know the name – about a girl who O.D.’s.  We always called it “Sandy, Jane” but I’m sure that’s not the name.  I have it on and ooooold mixed tape but would love to have it on mp3.  Anyone know anything about this song?

  102. on 01 Mar 2009 at 6:41 pm Hans

    Leigh, the song you are talking is about is called, oddly enough, Sandy!  If you will leave an email address I will send an mp3 to you.

  103. on 02 Mar 2009 at 10:48 pm Leigh

    Thanks a ton!  Whenever you get a chance…my email is .  I listened to that tape so many times in college (and beyond) – I can’t believe it didn’t disintegrate.  

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