Apropos of a little trip coming up: five traditions Big Easy guidebooks won't tell you about. For true locals--Nawlinians--only.
1. The Muffuletta March
Grab a muffuletta at Central Grocery, then march aimlessly around the French Quarter, one bite per block until your sandwich is gone. First Tuesday of months beginning in 'A.'
At a prearranged location, date, and time, five to seven "tourists" aboard a swamp tour boat stand up and start doing the electric slide until the boat tips over.
3. Alligator Massage
No explanation needed.
4. Lake Pontchartrain Drain
The Army Corps of Engineers installed a drain at the bottom of Lake Pontchartrain way back in 1947. It rusted shut over the decades, though, so to lower the water level these days, the Corps sends outs its greenest recruits with buckets and spoons, telling them to "hurry up and drain the thing." Savvy locals bring their own buckets full of water and dump them into the lake whenever they see the Corps a-comin'.
5. Beignet Slapping
No one will tell me what this is. But I aim to find out.