1. You know that as soon as you tell people from out of the state where you’re from, you’ll need to prepare to field a series of questions about Hurricane Katrina.
2. At least five of your friends have surnames that end with the suffix “-eaux.” Many of them have surnames that the untrained eye can’t pronounce correctly.
3. You don’t know whether to feel frustrated or bemused about out-of-towners who think that going to New Orleans and getting smashed at Pat O’Brien’s allows them to develop a real cultural appreciation for the region. To be fair, these are probably the same kind of people who refer to Mardi Gras as “Pardi Gras.”
4. Speaking of which, you know that probably about three-fourths of the folk who flash their chests for dinky, plastic beads during Mardi Gras come from out of town.
5. When you first got to college, you couldn’t help but marvel at the students who ended their Friday nights facedown in the grass by their freshman dorms with pizza-flavored vomit seeping out of the corners of their mouths. Basic.
6. Though Lil’ Wayne put Hollygrove on the map, you know that your city’s musical offerings — past and present — far expand his body of work. What else would you expect from the place that spurred the career of legends like Louis Armstrong and the Neville Brothers?
7. Your friends from elsewhere keep pronouncing it “New OrlEEns” in earnest and you don’t have the heart to correct them.
8. However, you have no qualms correcting those who call it “N’awlins.”
9. “Tchoupitoulas” sounds fairly intimidating — like the name of an exotic disease that melts your skin and causes your brains to ooze out of your ears — but you know that it’s just the name of an important street. And the name of the Creole Creamery sundae challenge no one you know has ever been able to complete.
10. You spend a disproportionate amount of time convincing friends who are about to visit New Orleans for the first time that, no, the likelihood that someone will rob and/or murder them is no higher than it would be in any other city.
11. The best part of summers during your childhood was getting to eat snowballs. Not snow cones. Not shaved ice. Hansen’s wedding cake flavored snowballs, topped with condensed milk.
12. At your high school graduation, you wore a white gown that looked eerily similar to a wedding dress while your male classmates wore tuxedos with white coats, and this felt perfectly normal.
13. The suggestion “pinch the tail and suck the head” might have more titillating connotations elsewhere, but it means something much tamer for you — though sticking your face in a plate of well-cooked crawfish can sometimes be just as exciting as anything else.
14. You know firsthand just how vibrant Who Dat Nation is, and you also know that Odell Beckham, Jr. deserves to win the Heisman this year. Clearly.
15. For as long as you can remember, you’ve asked for your po-boys “dressed.” Consequently, that time you visited your college friend in New York City and asked for your sandwich “dressed,” you didn’t understand why your server looked at you as though you had suddenly sprouted a second head from your shoulder.
16. Nine out of ten times when you introduce yourself to someone new, they ask if you’ve ever visited Bourbon (child please), and you feel as though you have to explain that the French Quarter entails much more than this one street.
17. You have strong feelings about Ray Nagin, but you will get downright vicious when it comes to defending your favorite flavor of Hubig’s Pie (all about that chocolate, y’all).
18. Chris Rose once wrote that, in New Orleans, “We dance even if there’s no radio. We drink at funerals. We talk too much and laugh too loud and live too large, and, frankly, we’re suspicious of others who don’t.” Like Rose, you know that this city — your city — possesses a mystical quality that makes your chest ache and your throat burn if you’ve been away for too long. No matter how far or long you go, you won’t be able to resist coming back — if only for a while — because there is truly no other city like this. 504ever.