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How We Greet on the Street in New Orleans and Places That Don’t

I was in Connecticut over the memorial day weekend visiting Ismail, my dear friend who hails from Istanbul, Turkey. What a beautiful state, so green with lush rolling hills, the air so clean. They have nice, beautiful towns, well-kept streets and numerous state parks.

We visited Yale University and was stunned at how beautiful it is. All of the buildings, except for the architecture building, of course, are built in an old English style and I did in fact feel as if I were walking around some old town in Britain.

One thing I noticed though was that people do not greet each other on the streets, a very common custom here in New Orleans. Here it’s customary when you pass someone to catch their eye and give a little greeting such as “hi”, “how ya doin,” or “mornin’.”

I tried it a couple times when I was there in Connecticut but folks eyed me strangely and only one person told me hello as I passed, a black woman who worked for the New Haven tourist bureau. Either she was from the South or greeting people was her job.

What the heck are people so afraid of?

I notice as I walk around the Crescent City — and this is a great walking city by the way, we still have and celebrate sidewalks — that if I pass someone and they don’t say a hello then I figure they ain’t from here. Living in the University area I encounter college students all the time that I know aren’t from here. How can I tell? They avoid any kind of eye contact and don’t say hi when you pass them.

So although Connecticut is clean and green I don’t think I could live there. For one thing it ain’t New Orleans and second I wouldn’t want to live in a place where people look at you strange every time you say hi.

Being friendly for no reason but just to be friendly is good for the soul.

Posted in New Orleans Culture, New Orleans Life.

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