What is the Nickname for New Orleans?

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Official names are one thing. But to really understand a city, you need to know what locals say. Welcome to the Big Easy, just one of the nicknames for New Orleans. Here, we’ll introduce you to the rest…

USA - Louisiana - New Orleans - Street performer

The Most Popular New Orleans Nicknames

With so much going on in the city, it’s no surprise to learn that New Orleans has nicknames aplenty. As a frequent traveller to the Crescent City, let me walk you through the various ways you can refer to the place.

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The Big Easy

New Orleans is commonly known as “The Big Easy” due to its rich musical heritage, relaxed attitude towards alcohol consumption, and affordable cost of living. The nickname’s origins remain uncertain, but it may have referred to the ease with which musicians found work and honed their craft in the city.

The Crescent City

The nickname “Crescent City” comes from the city’s geographical location, as the French Quarter was built in a curve around the Mississippi River. The river bend resembled a crescent moon, hence the name.


The term “NOLA” is derived from the initials of New Orleans (NO) and the first and last letters of Louisiana (LA). This abbreviated term is commonly used to refer to the city, reflecting its casual atmosphere, and is more convenient to use than saying the full name.

Louisiana - New Orleans - Creole Cuisine Prawn Dish
New Orleans is a great place to eat seafood

Crawfish Town

New Orleans is affectionately referred to as “Crawfish Town” owing to the significant number of crawfish found in the region. These freshwater crustaceans are a staple of the local cuisine and are considered a delicacy by many.

The City that Care Forgot

One possible explanation for this nickname is the city’s hot and humid summer weather.

Before air conditioning was invented, residents of New Orleans would spend the summer months on their porches, trying to catch any breeze they could to cool off. It was so hot and humid that people didn’t care about anything else, not even going to the store, preparing meals, or cleaning the house.

This attitude even extended to businesses, where employees moved at a slower pace due to the heat.

USA - New Orleans - Cafe Beignets Musical Legends Park Sculpture
New Orleans and music go hand in hand

The Birthplace of Jazz

New Orleans is called The Birthplace of Jazz because it is the city where the unique mix of African rhythms, European harmonies, and Caribbean beats gave birth to this groundbreaking musical genre.

Jazz was born in the heart of the city, where it thrived in nightclubs and street corners, played by a diverse community of musicians who shared their love for music.

The Hollywood South

The city has a thriving film industry, attracting movie studios and production companies with its blend of historic architecture and tax incentives.

The Paris of the South/ Paris of America

This nickname comes from the city’s reputation for being a cultural and artistic hub, just like its European namesake.

Treme Parade as Part of the Louis Armstrong Satchmofest in New Orleans
The Louis Armstrong Satchmofest is one of many festivals held in the city

The City of Festivals

With delicious food, catchy tunes, and colourful parades, New Orleans’ festivals are an unforgettable experience that captures the essence of the city’s rich cultural heritage. From Mardi Gras to Jazz Fest, the city hosts over 130 festivals annually.


The nickname “N’awlins” is a characterful reflection of the place. It’s said to have originated from the way locals pronounce the city’s name, with a drawled-out “New Or-leens” turning into the mellifluous “N’awlins”.

Driving through Louisiana to Baton Rouge from New Orleans
New Orleans is a vital port city

The Queen City of the Mississippi/ The Gateway of the Mississippi Valley/ The Gateway to the Americas

NOLA has a strategic location at the mouth of the Mississippi River, making it a vital port for shipping and trade in the United States.

The City of Dreams/ The City Of A Million Dreams

The city is a place where people come to pursue their passions and fulfil their aspirations. Its lively and welcoming atmosphere encourages creativity, innovation and a sense of community that inspires people to chase their dreams.

Convention City

This New Orleans’ nickname comes from its popularity as a destination for large-scale events and conferences, with a world-class convention centre and a unique blend of Southern hospitality and pulsating nightlife.

The Northernmost Caribbean City/ Northernmost Banana Republic

New Orleans’ effervescent blend of French, African, and Caribbean influences has earned it the nickname the Northernmost Caribbean city or, perhaps less flattering, the Banana Republic.

The Mardi Gras City

NOLA is also known as The Mardi Gras City due to its annual Carnival celebrations, where people put on colourful costumes and parade through the streets, throwing beads and trinkets to bystanders.

Gumbo City/ Sweet Lady Gumbo

New Orleans is famous for its Creole cuisine, which heavily features the beloved dish of gumbo.

This flavourful stew is made with a roux, vegetables, seafood, and/or meat, and is a staple in New Orleans homes and restaurants. The nickname “Sweet Lady Gumbo” adds a touch of affection to the city’s culinary reputation.

Creole influence is evident in the city’s colourful architecture

Creole City

Walking through the streets of New Orleans, you can hear jazz music, taste spicy gumbo, and see colourful houses that reflect the city’s Creole heritage. It’s a place where culture and history merge wherever you look and where the essence of Creole culture lives on.

Silicon Bayou/ Silicon Swamp

New Orleans has an energetic start-up culture, driven by low operating costs, a skilled workforce, and a rich cultural heritage. The term “Bayou” refers to the swampy landscape of the area, while “Silicon” is a nod to the tech industry’s Silicon Valley.

Chocolate City

The nickname “Chocolate City” comes from the city’s large population of African Americans. The term became popular after Hurricane Katrina when it was used by local officials and media to highlight the city’s diverse and resilient culture. Use with caution, though, as some may find this offensive.

Chopper City

Originating in Houston, this subgenre of hip hop has taken root in NOLA and become an integral part of its music scene. So, if you hear someone mention Chopper City while strolling down Bourbon Street, now you know why.

Saint City

This nickname is believed to have originated from a large number of Catholic churches and religious institutions found throughout the city, which gave it a spiritual aura. However, it could also be a nod to the many jazz musicians and artists who have called the city home, whose talents are often considered “divine.”

Then again, more practically, perhaps it refers to the pro American football team, the New Orleans Saints.

The Windy City

New Orleans is located at the mouth of the mighty Mississippi River, making it susceptible to powerful winds, especially during hurricane season. However, the nickname’s origins have more to do with the locals’ love of gossip and rumours. It was said that the city was so windy because everyone was always talking so much.

Necropolis Of The South

Lastly, NOLA is known as the “Necropolis of the South” due to its above-ground cemeteries, which are both beautiful and haunting. These “Cities of the Dead” were created because the city is built on a swamp, making traditional burial impractical.

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