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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Baby T______r, Ideally Incorporating New Orleans

Rachel writes:
I was wondering if you could help my husband and I with a baby naming dilemma we are having. We are expecting our first baby at the end of the June and do not know if it is a boy or girl.

The dilemma is that we are very reluctant transplants to the Midwest from our beloved hometown of New Orleans (husband and I met at college in New Orleans - he never left after his freshman year; I have lived there my entire life until now- didn't even leave for college!) So, given the significance of New Orleans for us, we would love for the baby's name to reflect our NOLA love. We have more or less decided on first names of Walker for a boy and Catherine for a girl.

My husband has decided that he is so hurt over the Saints bounty scandal (aren't we all?) that no Saints related names will be allowed, so WhoDat is definitely out, as well as Sean, Pa(e)yton and Drew. Ideally, I would like something with a little more NOLA flavor than those names anyway. We have come up with short lists for each -

Girl - Delphine (Google Delphine LaLaurie - I love the name but don't know if I can get past the story)
Coralie (I'm not sure how I feel about Catherine Coralie though)

Boy - Carrollton
Eli (this is my husband more than me)
George (there are a bunch of New Orleans artists named George)

Our last name is 2 syllables, starts with T and ends with R. We would love any thoughts on which one of these names works best or any other ideas you might have.

Thank you so much!!!

The names that sprang immediately to my mind were Louis, Louise, Louisa, and even using Louisiana or Orleans. (Louisiana, incidentally, is one of those names I'm surprised more parents who like the "long feminine name with lots of nicknames" style aren't using: nicknames Lou, Louie, Louise, Lulu, Annie, etc.) If you weren't set on using Catherine as the first name, you could also go a bit clever with something like Louise Anna.

Nola, of course, would work for a girl. Or Nouvelle, for La Nouvelle-Orléans.

Catherine Louisa
Catherine Louise
Catherine Louisiana
Catherine Nola
Catherine Nouvelle
Catherine Orleans

Walker Louis
Walker Orleans

I am a bit worried about the initials of some of the girl options allllmost spelling naughty words, but I tend to be cranked up a bit high on Initials Sensitivity. Spelling Catherine with a K may help. Along those lines, I would want to have considered ahead of time that Eli would give the initials WET, and Adelaide gives the initials CAT, and Orleans with Catherine gives the initials COT, and Faulkner gives initials of WFT but a monogram of WTF.

I love the name Delphine, but the very first line in her Wikipedia entry is "...a Louisiana-born socialite, known for her involvement in the torture of black slaves." It's not just that this is one of many things she's known for, as with a famous author or politician who later was discovered to have a skeleton in the closet---it's the ONLY reason she's famous. And since you're specifically considering the name for the New Orleans tie-in, and her brutal torture of slaves IS the New Orleans tie-in, I regretfully vote no.

Wikipedia has a whole page for people from New Orleans. Those and the other options on your list probably depend on how strongly they bring New Orleans to your mind.


Anonymous said...

Ummmmm, No to Delphine(because of what she is famous for, and No to Carrollton (because it just doesn't roll well for a boy). I love Walker Louis and Catherine Nouvelle. Job done!

Annie said...

I love your entire short list for both sets, so I'm of no help. I'll add the suggestion of Magnolia to the girl's list, though.

Homa said...

I just googled famous people of New Orleans and found a long list divided into categories such as authors, politicians etc. I think you would be able to find something. Right off the bat, Iliked Walker Ambrose (for Stephen Ambrose),and Catherine Rafferty (Max Rafferty).

Anna said...

I think Metairie would be a pretty and unexpected middle name for Catherine.

Portia said...

As a New Orleans native, I love this question!
I don't know where y'all lived in New Orleans, but there are so many lovely street names that might be significant to you. Calliope, Julia, Elysian, and Dauphine come to mind for girls (especially since you like Delphine.) Other girl names: Fleur, Marigny, Stella or Blanche (from Streetcar Named Desire).

I do like Carrollton for a boy, or Charles. (maybe even St. Charles?)
Or Tennessee (for Williams)? I like the suggestion of Louis, too. What about Jackson, for Jackson Square? And of course Walker already gives you a nice Louisiana tie-in, because of Walker Percy.

Have fun, and congratulations!

Ms. Hart said...

I know a little girl named Nola... would that not work for a middle name? Catherine Nola?

Anonymous said...

love Catherine Louisiana, Catherine Nola, & Catherine Magnolia.

What about:

Catherine Marigny
Catherine Roux
Catherine Bayou
Catherine Lane (for Tulane)

Walker Charles, Walker St. Charles, Walker Tennessee, & Walker Carrollton are great, as is everything else on your short list.


Lynnette said...

I second Fleur, as that's immediately what I thought of for New Orleans. St. Louis, my hometown, also has a strong association with the fleur de lis.

StephLove said...

I liked the suggestions of Louise (and related names) or Nola for a girl, and Louis for a boy. I'd add Nolan for a boy as well. Or any French name that catches your fancy.

New Orleans brings Anne Rice to mind. There are so many great names in her novels, more than I can list, but it was the Mayfair witch series that made me want to travel to New Orlean so maybe May, or Rowan for the protagonist.

hannah moskowitz said...

CNT is a no-go. Nola our Nouvelle would need Katherine with a K.

Anonymous said...

Walker Cyril, Catherine Lys.

Anonymous said...

My grandmother's name was Nola (Nola June actually) so I have to vote for that! I like Louis for a boy. I'm also from St. Louis and agree with the previous poster about the fleur de lis, so Fleur is a great suggestion. Philip or Philippe for the Duke of Orleans would be another good historical connection.

Anonymous said...

I love the suggestion of Blanche.
Catherine Blanche is very pretty.

for a boy, I would definitely vote against Faulkner, given that Walker and T____r both end in R.
PGT Beauregard is from New Orleans and has quite a few names that can be used:
Walker Pierre T____r
Walker Gustave T____r
Walker Beauregard T____r
or even Walker Felix T___r (Felix was one of his nicknames)

The Mrs. said...

Do you like Catherine French T____r?

There's always Lafayette for a middle name, too! He was instrumental for America during the Revolutionary War and deeply revered.

I second (or third?) the idea of Orleans for a boy's middle name. Otherwise, Rex is rather wonderful.

Best wishes to you and your family!

Anonymous said...

Catherine Dauphine is lovely and very similar to the Delphine that you like but that you clearly can't use due to its history. If you are open to other ideas , I was excited to see Catherine Lys. It is absolutely beautiful.
Walker has a few good choices but I really think Louis is the best choice.

Buttercup said...

I have great aunts from New Orleans named Louisiana and Eugenie; I love both names. May I volunteer my own hometown of "Chalmette" as a middle name? ;) I also went to LSU with a guy whose middle name was St. Claire, and I've always liked that.

Lafitte? Marigny? Napoleon? Baronne? Bienville? Iberville? Pontalba? Charles? Jefferson?

Anonymous said...

A lot of great suggestions already. Some unconventional ideas. Zydeco. Chicory. Delta. Parish. Natchez. Brass. Bayou.

Anonymous said...

Immediately thought of Azelie. I remember reading the Kate Chopin story of that title in a Louisiana literature class in college. Can't remember what the plot or title character are like so can't really vouch for the associations but the name is so beautiful!

Love the suggestion of Stella from Streetcar -- the character of Blanche gets raped and goes crazy, so maybe avoid that one (although I do like the name).

Another suggestion: Acadia (the origin of the Louisiana cajuns). If you changed your mind about Catherine you could use Acadia as a first name and still call her Cady or Cadie.

For a boy: Thomas or Lanier, the real first/middle names of Tennessee Williams. Also love George. And Louis (love Walker Louis), I think would be perfect -- read Louis Armstrong's memoir "Satchmo: My Life in New Orleans" when you're feeling nostalgic for your hometown!

changelivlife said...

Am I the only one who thinks Catherine Coralie is an amazing name? I do like alliteration, but that just flows so beautifully.

And I'll also agree that Walker Orleans is terrific and a great homage to the city you love.

Anonymous said...

Nola is gorgeous for a girl!

Anonymous said...

Word associations/ideas that might help:

Kay June (Cajun)
Cafe du Monde
Marty / Martinette (Mardi Gras)
Herbert (A Bear)
Muffy (Muffuletta)
Pica (Picayune)
Vieux Carre
West Bank

You could go with a french name: Jean Paul

My favorite for a girl is Rue.

Anonymous said...

I think of Magnolia trees and live oaks when I think of New Orleans.

Joanne said...

I really like Nola, that's the first name I thought of. Alternately, like Dauphine or Calliope. Best of luck! Bon Chance! I don't speak French, I hope that's right :)

Anonymous said...

Regarding Delphine, it's Marie Delphine LaLaurie, so at least it was only her middle name. I think the name is lovely and wouldn't rule it out. Dauphine has a nice ring, but not sure how it would go over in France.