WHAT IS LAGNIAPPE?
Lagniappe (pronounced LAN-yap) is defined as an unexpected gift given to a customer as a bonus, a compliment, or simply for good measure. Mark Twain wrote about lagniappe in Life on the Mississippi (1883). Lagnaippe is "a word worth traveling to New Orleans to get; a nice limber, expressive, handy word--'lagniappe'..." English speakers learned the word from French-speaking Louisianians, but they in turn had adapted it from the American Spanish word la ñapa.
Twain went on to describe how New Orleanians completed shop transactions by saying "Give me something for lagniappe," to which the shopkeeper would respond with "a bit of liquorice-root, ... a cigar or a spool of thread." It took a while for "lagniappe" to catch on throughout the country, but by the mid-20th century, New Yorkers and New Orleanians alike were familiar with this "excellent word."
So, there you have it!
ABOUT MARION OWEN
I’m Marion Owen. I work, relax, and love life in Kodiak, Alaska. I’ve worked on research ships, created photographs that hang in The Smithsonian, given up cheese and meat, and enjoy watching bumblebees and snowflakes. And somewhere along the line, I co-authored the New York Times bestseller, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul. I’m learning how to not do too much. To be authentic, embrace joy, and not burn the oatmeal.
Thank you for being here,