Why Is New Orleans Called "The Big Easy?"
A look at the story behind the city's famous nickname.
NOLA. Crescent City. N'Awlins. There's no shortage of ways to refer to the Louisiana city we so adore, perched on the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain. But how did it get that ever-popular tag, The Big Easy?
While many theories abound, one of the more popular hypotheses can be traced back to a newspaper column. "In the 1960s, New Orleans gossip columnist Betty Guillaud allegedly coined the moniker while comparing 'the Big Easy' to 'the Big Apple,'" Reader's Digest writer Juliana Labianca writes. While New Yorkers were perpetually running around, laid-back life in New Orleans reigned, hence, The Big Easy.
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In addition to this conjecture, some think the name has to do with the city's bustling music scene. As the Culture Trip offers, "During the early twentieth century, due to the sheer number of performance venues, the city became nationally recognized as a haven for struggling jazz and blues musicians. From playing at parks and performing on the streets to booking private parties and nightclub appearances, The Big Easy was always (and continues to be) an open and supportive city that embraced an aspiring musician’s thirst for performing."
Yet others, as NOLA.com explains, believe the name could be a hat tip to a dance hall in the city called The Big Easy. It's starting to look like this New Orleans' nickname etymology may be as contentious as who fries up the best beignet in town.