New Orleans has developed a distinctive local dialect over the years that is neither Cajun nor the stereotypical Southern accent so often misportrayed by film and television actors. It does, like earlier Southern Englishes, feature frequent deletion of the post-vocalic "r". This dialect is quite similar to New York "Brooklynese" to people unfamiliar with either. There are many theories to how it came to be, but it likely resulted from New Orleans' geographic isolation by water and the fact that the city was a major immigration port throughout the 19th century. As a result, many of the ethnic groups who reside in Brooklyn also reside in New Orleans, such as Irish, Italians (especially Sicilians), and Germans, among others, as well as a very sizeable Jewish community.[47]

One of the strongest varieties of the New Orleans accent is sometimes identified as Yat, from the greeting "Where y'at?" This distinctive accent is dying out generation by generation in the city itself but remains very strong in the surrounding parishes.

Less visibly, various ethnic groups throughout the area have retained their distinctive language traditions to this day. Although rare, Kreyol Lwiziyen is still spoken by Creoles. Also rare, an archaic Louisiana-Canarian Spanish dialect is spoken by the Isleños people, but it can usually only be heard by older members of the population.

Yat refers to a unique collection of dialects of English spoken in New Orleans, Louisiana. The term also refers to those people who speak with a Yat accent. The name comes from the common use amongst said people of the greeting, "Where y'at?" (Where you at?), which is a way of asking, "How are you?" The Yat dialect sounds similar to that of Brooklyn, New York, natives, with influences from Louisiana Creole French and Southern American English, particularly Older Southern American English. While the term Yat is usually reserved specifically for the strongest varieties of the New Orleans dialect within the city, the term often refers specifically to speakers of Yat, outside of the city proper, and around the rest of Louisiana.