Sep 19, 2023 - Things to Do

International Talk Like a Pirate Day is Sept. 19

A man dressed like a pirate gestures to the camera with a metal mug while marching in the French Quarter.

Pirates march down Bourbon Street in 2008. Photo: Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

We can get this straight right now: The creators of International Talk Like a Pirate Day know that this whole thing is absolutely ridiculous.

Why it matters: Because it's fun, and the two creators who cooked up this fake holiday, one a former New Orleans resident, have gotten a lot of enjoyment out of it over the years.

Driving the news: Today — Sept. 19 — is International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

How it happened: Back in 1995, Jack Baur and his friend Mark Summers were playing a game of racquetball. For no reason at all, in a frustrated moment, Summers began speaking like a pirate.

  • The two friends enjoyed the piratic banter so much, they thought it should be an annual tradition — for everyone.
  • Choosing Sept. 19 for the yearly revelry, the pair celebrated among friends for several years until Miami Herald humor columnist Dave Barry wrote about the holiday in 2002.
  • The rest is hist-arrrr-y. (Sorry, I had to.)

What he's saying: "It still kind of makes us shake our heads in bewilderment. I think we just kind of caught people's fancy. It's so weird," Baur tells Axios New Orleans. "We never pretended like it was important or that we were important for inventing it. We're not. We're like a couple of middle school students with a new booger joke."

  • Baur ended up moving to New Orleans in 2012 after attending a pirate convention here.
  • "We thought it seemed awful nice," he says, though he has since moved to Washington.

Yes, but: Don't act like a pirate, Baur cautions.

  • "We recognize that pirates were bad people. They did bad things, some were really cruel and inhumane," Baur adds before quoting Summers. "'It's Talk Like a Pirate Day, not commit felonies like a pirate day.'"

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