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One more time: ‘How’s your mom’n’em?’

April 20, 2014

I posted the following on March 23, 2012, and to this day, it gets the most hits per week of anything I have posted on this blog. So, here it is again. For your enjoyment and edification:

“Your mom’n’em” is a Southern expression that refers collectively to all of someone’s family members — not only his or her mother, but his or her father, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, cousins and distant relatives.

It’s an efficient way to inquire about the health of all of the members of a family with just one question. While the spelling of “your mom’n’em” may vary from person to person and place to place, its pronunciation doesn’t change that much. Basically, it rhymes with the word “homonym.”

“How’s your mom’n’em?” is an appropriate question to use in a variety of situations, such as seeing an old friend in the check-out line at Wal-Mart on a Saturday morning or running into an acquaintance while dining at a meat-and-three (vegetables) on Sunday after church.

Looking into other uses of this expression, I found that Clancy DuBos wrote about “The Mom-n-em Rule” in a column in the Gambit, a weekly newspaper in New Orleans,dated March 29, 2005.

DuBos wrote, “For years, candidates for public office who no longer lived in the districts they sought to represent dodged residency or domiciliary requirements by effectively claiming they lived “with mom’n’em” — that is, at some long-established (but long abandoned, by the candidate) family abode within the borders of the district, Judges traditionally used more highfalutin’ language to bless the deception, but they may as well have just gone ahead and called it ‘The Mom’n’em Rule.’

“The rule was simple: If you don’t live in a particular district, you can still run for office from that district as long as you might have lived there at one time and your mom — or some other close relative — still lives there. For at least 40 years, the Mom’n’em Rule was pretty much the law in Louisiana.

“Until Cedric Richmond came along.”

DuBos then explained that Richmond, a state representative from New Orleans, had qualified to run in a special election for a seat on the New Orleans City Council.

“In doing so, he tested even the elastic limits of the Mom’n’em Rule — so much so that the Louisiana Supreme Court last week finally found an excuse to blast the rule to hell.”

In short, the court declared Richmond to be ineligible to run for office.

If you would like to read DeBos’ column in its entirety, go to http://www.bestofneworleans.com/gambit/end-of-the-momnem-rule/Content?oid=1244052

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