Each of the nine Greek goddesses known as the Muses is memorialized by a street in the Lower Garden District. From a literature class long ago, you might recall the name Melpomene, the muse of tragedy, but ask for directions using the Merriam-Webster pronunciation, and you'll earn the smile that locals everywhere bestow on hopeless tourists. You'll be pointed the right way, too, but I'd rather not be made to feel like a rube. (Note to self: Be more gracious the next time I'm asked for directions to Hyoos-ton St.)
In New Orleans, Melpomene is Mel-puh-meen. Her sisters Calliope, Euterpe, and Terpsichore each also shed a syllable, while one variation for Clio is so bizarre I'd have to hear it to believe it. Read much more in this lexicon of New Orleans terminology and speech, from Chuck Taggart's engaging (and literate) Gumbo Pages.
Find a New Orleans deli that serves Chinese food, and likely as not you'll find yat ka mein. You might see it rendered yet ca mein, yakamein, ya ka mein, or under some similar moniker, and prepared in as many varieties as there are spellings (which I haven't exhausted here). This black-peppery version (small, $3.49) added pork and baby shrimp to the standard hardboiled egg and ramen-style noodles. St. Vincent is staffed by Chinese speakers (probably late of Vietnam, judging only by some of the groceries), but yat ka mein was absorbed into the city's black culinary vernacular long ago. On the menu board, you'll find it listed between egg drop soup and gumbo.
Note, too, another instance of a deli that will prepare a "poor boy," rather than po' boy or po-boy (click on the shop's photo for a closer look).
St. Vincent Supermarket 2372 Constance St. (at 1st St.), New Orleans 504-525-3233
Built in 1893, Arabella Station survived more than 100 years as a car barn for streetcars, then trolley coaches, and finally diesel buses. In 2002 it began a second life as a high-ceilinged Whole Foods store; by New York standards, the decibel level is strikingly low.
Arabella Station Now an outlet of Whole Foods 5600 Magazine St. (Arabella-Joseph Sts.), New Orleans 504-899-9119 www.WholeFoodsMarket.com