I’ve been to New Orleans exactly twice. I came thisclose to packing up and moving there at the age of 20.
Blame it on Anne Rice or The Travel Channel, an affection for zydeco or a determination to live some place where there’s no need for long johns. Or maybe it is “House of the Rising Sun,” the folk song about a life that unravels in New Orleans, made famous by the Animals, and one of the few songs I vividly recall my father playing on the piano.
What ever the reason, I love it so.
Even though Mardi Gras isn’t a big deal here in Washington D.C., I’m always aware of the celebration. One of my favorite Nameberry posts is a round-up of appellations from the Krewe of Rex’s royal courts over the years. Elisabeth has a fun round-up post, too.
Mardi Gras 2013 falls on February 12, 2013, though the celebration has been underway for a while now. Should you welcome a little one between now and Tuesday, how ’bout a lovely New Orleans-themed name to celebrate the season?
Mardi Gras Baby Names for Girls
Acadia – The Acadians were French-Canadians forced to migrate to Louisiana. You know them better as Cajuns. Acadiana is an even more elaborate option, used to describe the entirety of Francophone Louisiana, which includes New Orleans.
Blue – From one of Bob Dylan’s famous songs, “Tangled Up in Blue.” It isn’t clear – or even likely – that the woman in his lyrics is named Blue, but given the current celebrity craze for the color name, I’m tempted to add her to the list. What’s certain is that Dylan sets some of his famous song in the city.
Carondelet – Looking for something elaborate and unusual? The surname of a former Louisiana governor was the name of a canal and continues as the name of a street.
Chloe – Mother Love Bone recorded “Chloe Dancer,” about a waitress in the French Quarter. The band had its brief heyday in the late 1980s, among the leaders of the emerging Seattle music scene. They recorded the song just before the name really hit it big, suggesting that it could be part of the name’s appeal.
Claudia – I wouldn’t recommend Lestat, but the name of the child vampire from Anne Rice’s novel has some potential.
Cleopatra – She’s an Egyptian queen, but also a krewe – one of the organizations that parades during the Mardi Gras season.
Clio – Which reminds me, there are nine streets named after the nine Muses. Other possible wearables: Calliope, Thalia.
Delphine – I’ve long loved this name, and she has a long history of use in Louisiana. The only problem is that the best known Delphine in New Orleans history was a serial killer.
Fleur – From the fleur-de-lis, a symbol associated with the city. It’s actually a stylized lily, so Lily, Lilly, and Lillie could be options, too.
Iris – The oldest all women’s krewe, named for the goddess of the rainbow.
Louisiana – State names have been used for both genders, and with nicknames from Lulu to Lucy, she’s on the right side of wearable.
Marie – As in voodoo queen Laveau.
Nola – As in New Orleans, LA, the abbreviation for the city where the famous celebration takes place. Another possibility? Magnolia, the state flower, and a possible long form of Nola.
Rowan – From Anne Rice’s other New Orleans-based series, The Mayfair Witches. The entire family tree is chock full of great names.
Story – I’m probably pushing my luck here, but one of the things that fascinated me about New Orleans early days was hearing the nickname Storyville associated with the city. Turns out that Storyville was the red light district, so maybe it isn’t great inspiration for a child’s name.
Tuesday – Mardi Gras is, literally, Fat Tuesday. This day name has some appeal thanks to actress Tuesday Weld.
Mardi Gras Baby Names for Boys
Charles – St. Charles Avenue and its streetcar line is as iconic as it gets, but the classic Charles might be too restrained to really scream Fat Tuesday.
Giacomo – It’s an Italian form of James, but also appears in the lyrics to the traditional song “Iko, Iko” – which is all about Mardi Gras.
Jackson – If you’ve seen pictures of the Crescent City, you’ve almost certainlys een Jackson Square.
Julian – Another from Anne Rice’s family of witches.
King – There are kings of carnival, and king cakes are a traditional dessert served during the celebrations.
Landry – The name of three French medieval saints – you might seen them referred to as Landericus – St. Landry Parish isn’t far from New Orleans.
Louis – As in the cathedral, the square, and Louis Armstrong.
Royal – A famous New Orleans street, and a regal choice for a son.
Tennessee – They’ll assume you’re thinking of another state, but Tennessee Williams penned the ever-so-famous Streetcar Named Desire, set in New Orleans.
Have you been to New Orleans? Would you use a name inspired by the city, or by Mardi Gras?