Many places (such as countries, states and cities) have been called a “banana republic” because of seemingly corrupt governments. American journalist A. J. Liebling (1904-1963) is credited for calling Louisiana “the northernmost of the Banana Republics” in the book The Earl of Louisiana (1961), about Earl Long (1895-1960).
The nickname has also been used for the city of New Orleans. “New Orleans has been called everything from the Paris of the Americas to the northernmost banana republic” was printed in the book Access New Orleans (2003). Mondo Kayo Social & Marching Club has popularized the nickname during Mardi Gras.
Other New Orleans nicknames include “America’s Most Interesting City,” “Baghdad-on-the-Bayou,” “Big Crescent,” “Big Easy,” “Big Greasy,” “Big Sleazy,” “Birthplace of Jazz,” “Chocolate City,” “Chopper City,” “City of a Million Dreams,” “City of Yes,” “City That Care Forgot,” “City That Forgot to Care,” “Convention City,” “Crawfish Town,” “Creole City,” “Crescent City,” “Erb City,” “Gateway of the Mississippi Valley,” “Gumbo City,” “Hollywood South,” “Jump City,” “Mardi Gras City,” “Metropolis of the South,” “N’Awlins,” “Necropolis of the South,” “Nerlins,” “No Orleans” (after Hurricane Katrina), “NOLA,” “Northernmost Caribbean City,” “Old Swampy.” “Paris of America,” “Queen City,” “Saint City,” “Silicon Bayou,” “Silicon Swamp” and “Sweet Lady Gumbo.”
Wikipedia: New Orleans
New Orleans (/nju? ???rli.?nz, -???r?li?nz, -???rl?nz/, or /?n??rl?nz/; French: La Nouvelle-Orléans [la nuv?l??le??]) is a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana.
The population of the city was 343,829 as of the 2010 U.S. Census. The New Orleans metropolitan area (New Orleans–Metairie–Kenner Metropolitan Statistical Area) had a population of 1,167,764 in 2010 and was the 46th largest in the United States.
Wikipedia: A. J. Liebling
Abbott Joseph “A. J.” Liebling (October 18, 1904 – December 28, 1963) was an American journalist who was closely associated with The New Yorker from 1935 until his death.
. The Earl of Louisiana, Louisiana State University Press:Baton Rouge, 1961 (ISBN 0-8071-0537-6)
Mondo Kayo Social & Marching Club
The tropically themed Mondo Kayo Social & Marching Club operates on the premise that New Orleans is the northernmost banana republic (motto: “May Your Banana Trees Never Freeze”). On Mardi Gras, accompanied by a booming stereo system that’s incorporated into a bicycle-powered contraption called the Maxi Taxi, they gambol to an eclectic mix of recorded fare, including Soukous, Zouk, Compass and Soca. They also play exotica—music intended to evoke exotic jungles and tropical paradises, such as the jingle from the Chiquita banana TV commercial circa 1947.
When the gonzo troupe arrives at Gallier Hall on St. Charles Ave., they greet city dignitaries, expressing thanks “for all the rain and sunshine you have brought to our gardens to make our banana trees prosper.” A “basket of tropical abundance” full of bananas painted gold is then presented (“Viva our banana republic!”)
15 November 1971, The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA), “Views of Readers,” sec. 1, pg. 14, col. 4:
New Orleans, on the other hand, is essentially a Latin American city, with French and Spanish antecedents and an intriguing blend of other European and African elements. It may well be true, as one critic has said, that Louisiana is the northernmost “banana republic” in the Americas.
R. L. WOODWARD JR.
3 November 1974, St. Petersburg (FL) Times, “Florida voting ‘paradise’ after big, bad Louisiana” by Don Arkchin. Manatee Times, pg. 2, col. 2:
Back in the northernmost banana republic, government corruption was in the same league as taxes—unpleasant but unavoidable.
15 July 1979, Sunday Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA), “Where Did They Say That Poll Was Taken?” (editorial), pg. 2-B, col. 1:
But it shows that we here have been able to make some progress and probably no longer deserve the sobriquet some wag—perhaps too aptly—put on us: the northernmost of the banana republics.
13 November 1980, Boston (MA) Globe, “Take the High Ground” by Alan Richman, pg. 1:
The people of Massachusetts would probably have reacted more calmly than the people of New York if King had proposed such a drastic security measure. King’s fondness for traveling with a phalanx of state troopers often makes him appear to be potentate of the world’s northernmost banana republic.
10 July 1985, The Sun (Baltimore, MD), “Whiffs of New Orleans” by Andei Codrescu, pg. 7A, cols. 2-3:
A. J. Liebling said Louisiana “is the northernmost banana reoublic, and the westernmost Arab state.” One doesn’t have to look far to see what he means.
Poor Women, Powerful Men:
America’s Great Experiment in Family Planning
By Martha Coonfield Ward
Boulder, CO: Westview Press
Some have joked that Louisiana is the northernmost banana republic.
Texas in Transition
By Michael L Gillett.
Austin, TX: Lyndon Baines Johnson Library: Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs
Politically, we’ve never been as wild as our sister state of Louisiana, which is still the northernmost banana republic.
25 May 1987, New Orleans CityBusiness (New Orleans, LA), “For-Profits Top Nonprofits in Hospital Permit Battle” by Patti Nickell, pg. 1:
And though the rest of the country has had a tendency to view Louisiana as the world’s northernmost banana republic, they have nevertheless been entertained by its politics for over half a century. So much so, in fact, that it has been suggested that the state could generate some much needed revenue by charging an amusement tax for public performances of its annual political follies.
17 February 1998, The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA), “Carnival Hip Sheet: The Mardi Card is a mini ‘gras” guide with both more—and less” by David Cuthbert, pg. E1:
Carnival junkie Graham Button would like you to check out what he calls “Fat Tuesday Eyeball Kicks” - off-the-beaten-parade-route odd squads such as The Mondo Kayo Social & Marching Club. “It’s a pretty gonzo group that operates on the premise that New Orleans is the northernmost banana republic,” Button said. “They march to Trinidad and Brazilian Carnival music down St. Charles Avenue to Gallier Hall, where they present the mayor with a basket of golden bananas.
Google Groups: alt.fan.dave_barry
Snappy State Sayings (was: Holy Cheeses…)
>I think they stuck with their old one. (Wisconsin: we’re NOT Minnesota)
Wm. FuBuckley once referred to Louisiana as “The Western Hemisphere’s Northernmost banana republic,” which I think is as accurate a description as any.
Access New Orleans 6e
By Beth D’Addono, David Appell, Paul Balido and Michel LaCroix
New York, NY: Access Press
New Orleans has been called everything from the Paris of the Americas to the northernmost banana republic.
Art and Society in Louisiana
By Richard Megraw
Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi
Its (Louisiana’s—ed.) somewhat byzantine and often corrupt politics once led A. J. Liebling to consider it either “westernmost of the Arab states or northernmost of the Banana Republics.”
January 2010, Planning (Chicago, IL), “Trump Card” by Jed Horne, pg. 35:
Katrina wore out the public’s patience with all that. Corruption in New Orleans had long been a spectator sport, a point of roguish civic pride in a decadent town that was amused to hear itself described as “the northernmost banana republic.”
BUSINESS 01/13/2011 10:36 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011
On Louisiana Coast, Damage From Oil Goes Much Deeper Than Spill
By Chris Kirkham
“There’s a huge equity issue,” said Paul Templet, a former secretary of Louisiana’s Department of Environmental Quality and professor of environmental studies at Louisiana State University. “Louisiana has got oil, has had oil, and yet we’re a very poor state. If you look at the numbers, our per-capita income is among the lowest in the U.S., our poverty is the highest, and our gap in income levels is huge. We’re like the northernmost banana republic.”
Comprehensive & concise history of oil and Louisiana’s coast. “We’re like the northernmost banana republic” Huffpost: http://huff.to/eDc6cB
9:43 AM - 15 Jan 2011
28 July 2011, National Journal (Washington, DC), “The Cook Report: A Laughingstock” by Charlie Cook:
Washington is now sullying America’s long-deserved reputation as the leading country in the world to such an extent that we are becoming a laughingstock. The renowned, late journalist A.J. Liebling, a fixture for many years in The New Yorker and a chronicler of then-Louisiana Gov. Earl Long, once wrote that the home state I share with Long was “the northernmost of the banana republics.” If Liebling were alive today, he might expand his “northernmost” banana republic to include the whole United States, with Washington as its sorry capital.
“Tell them I lied.” – A Politician Who Was An Honest Crook – Part 1
October 2, 2012
This is Louisiana, often described as the northernmost of the Banana Republics.
Replying to @TallDarknHandsy
@TallDarkHandsy: Louisiana is the northernmost banana republic.
11:20 AM - 23 Dec 2012
New Orleans is the northernmost banana republic so a Bahamanian should feel at home. I’d love to see him march in Mondo Kayo for Mardi Gras!
7:15 PM - 23 Jun 2016
Nicknames of Other Places • Big Easy, City That Care Forgot (New Orleans nicknames) • Wednesday, October 04, 2017 • Permalink