wo·dieIt shows up in the lyrics of local rappers such as Juvenile* and is probably derivative of "ward-ie" or "ward-mate," referring to the old municipal wards into which New Orleans is divided.**
n.Friend or partner.
* Speaking of Juvenile, does anybody remember that video for his song "Ha"? (If you don't, you can see it on YouTube. I just watched it again for the first time in years). It made a strong impression on me at the time and has lingered in my memory because it appeared on national television at a time when it was extremely rare to see a mainstream depiction of New Orleans that didn't resort to the tired steamy-nights-in-the-French-Quarter-Marie-Laveau-and-Jambalaya clichés. It shows real New Orleans neighborhoods looking like they look today - or, more precisely, how they looked before the storm. (And because it was filmed in and around the Magnolia Projects a few blocks from our house, the neighborhood shots specifically look very much like our neighborhood - the same streets, the same fences, the same signs, the same houses.) Of course, it trades in the old New Orleans mythology for an updated gangster-hero mythology, but at least the latter is more relevant to contemporary life in the city. And visually, the video is right on.
** The wards of New Orleans are a funny business. They're the old city voting districts but now have greater significance as cultural markers of certain neighborhoods than as official entities. The 9th Ward is a little unusual in that that's the primary designation of that neighborhood. Everybody calls the 9th Ward the 9th Ward (and since Katrina, the whole world knows its name). The other wards have less name recognition. People tend to use neighborhood names: Faubourg Marigny, the French Quarter, Algiers, the Tremé, Esplanade Ridge, the Garden District, the Irish Channel, Central City, Lakeview, Lake Vista, Gentilly, Pontilly, Girt Town, Pigeon Town, Broadmoor, Hollygrove, etc. But still, people haven't forgotten the wards. There are endless bounce songs doing endless shout-outs to all the wards. And everywhere I've lived in the city, the neighborhoodod kids always seem to have an intense ward-awareness. They know what ward they're in. They know where the borders are. They know who's from other wards. I have any number of photos of kids flashing their ward signs (index and pinky extended - "11th Ward!"), doing their best little big man impressions.
Thanks, Mothgirl, for introducing me to this little slice of slang.