Some people from New Orleans talk funny. They're called Yats.
When you meet one on the street, they say, "Where y'at?" And then they say, "Whatcha know good?" If you're considered a good friend, they might even say, "How's ya mom an' dem?"
Believe it or not, many people are proud to be Yats.
Even I, on occassion, have been known to slip into Yat talk. My out-of-town friends think it's funny when I replace the "th" sound with "d," as in, "dis," "dat," "dese" and "dose." Sometimes, I don't know what's up wit dem.
Local musician and amateur sociologist Benny Grunch has made a career of celebrating the culture of Yats. A few years ago, he wrote and recorded "The 12 Yats of Christmas," based on the Christmas standard. The locals ate it up.
It helps that Benny himself is, well, a Yat. He knows the places and talks the lingo with the best. With no effort, Benny slurs and blurs the words, so that "picture window" becomes "pictcha winda," and "did you" comes out "did'ja." Yats sound a lot like New Yorkers, but with a friendly streak.
With the band Benny Grunch and The Bunch, he's recorded several more heart-warming songs celebrating the happy weirdness that flows down every street of New Orleans. Just the titles make me smile: "Ain't Dere No More," "Over By Your Mama'n Nem," and "If I Won Da Lottry For Christmas."
All of which leads me to this shameless promo for their recently released CD now on sale through their website and several local stores. They've updated "Ain't Dere No More" to include recent Katrina victims, namely Lakeview and St. Bernard. Well, as Benny says, "Temporarily Ain't Dere No More."
Click the link, check it out, buy a cd from a local musician and have a happy holiday to boot.
Yeah you rite!