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NOLA Speak: The New Orleans Neutral Ground

If you’ve made your way down to the Big Easy for Mardi Gras, you’ve probably heard what you thought was the middle of the road called the neutral ground – and then you probably wondered about all the other odd sayings we have here in New Orleans. Don’t test us, we have plenty! But that’s why we have the NOLA Speak series – to help you out and keep you from calling the streetcar a trolley, or the neutral ground a median. On this episode, prominent New Orleanians including Fleurty Girl, Bryan Batt, 610 Stompers and Jeremy Davenport attempt to explain why the patch of grass in between the streets is called something different around here and where the term came from.

Like this NOLA Speak video on the New Orleans neutral ground? Check out the GoNOLA TV YouTube channel for more great videos about New Orleans!

Video Transcript:

Fleurty Girl: The neutral ground in New Orleans. I love that we still call
it a neutral ground. Everywhere else it’s a median, but here it’s a neutral
ground. It’s just this patch of grass where the streetcars roll and the
cars pass through and between.

Jeremy Davenport: I actually learned this kind of recently, but the
significance of the neutral ground was, I guess the French, and the… Is
that it?

Slab: Some kind of history, about you know…

Fleurty Girl: The part of the street that was neutral to-what the French
and the Spanish? Do you know what the…?

Bryan Batt: The French really hated the English. Neutral ground, I think
came out of that. You know there was- out of property, out of what section
you were from. I think.

Jeremy: I guess they would meet on what would be known as the neutral
ground between the two areas. So now anytime you have a road with two sides
to it and there’s like a grassy area, we call it the neutral ground.

Bryan: I knew sometimes when I have a guest in from out of town, I just
say, you know median. We call it the neutral ground.

Mr. Jerome: There’s no such thing as a median.

Slab: No. It’s a neutral ground.

Mr. Jerome: It’s a neutral ground.