One day, I saw a Misbelief Tree on Marginy and St.Claude that had me wanting to knock on the door or climb the fence to get a few branches of the tasty sweet fruit. I’m sure the property owner had to be a transplant (someone who moved to New Orleans from another state) because no sane New Orleans person would ever have a tree-bearing fruit. It breaks my heart to see so many trees with rotten fruit as if they are not free treats from Mother Nature.
I’m still mad.. they really need to move. Why?? But you what?? It’s not just the transplants, aka those who relocated to New Orleans from elsewhere.
I could not believe it when I noticed some Natives cut down trees after years of growing tired of caring for the trees and harvest time. My Auntie cut down a pecan tree, and I nearly died, but she said it was dying or something along that line… I hope. Recently, an abandoned, overgrown lot full of berry vines, fruit trees, and vegetables was leveled out, flattened, and demolished of all life… Thankfully, days prior, I could easily uproot a small fig tree. I planted it in a large pot, and once it is, Unfortunately, bigger, I’ll find a lovely home for it in the yard. Since Katrina and gentrification, there aren’t enough native New Orleanians to take pride in these gifts.
Misbeliefs are a childhood favorite that had me in many yards. Trespassing is what it would be considered now, just to get my fingers on these sweet little things. I remember jumping over fences and looking out for dogs, and though I never was told to get out of someone’s yard, I heard plenty of stories about friends who were. Some who were brave or needed the Misbelief’s so bad would go into yards where mean old ladies would hit them with a broom and call the police because some kid wanted free fruit. I guess it was trespassing then too… They would climb so high that someone would fall after seeing the ripest ones on higher branches. I can only imagine how many of us were walking around with a fracture that set and healed. Back then, a see;f inflected wound was better than getting a whipping for falling a tree you weren’t supposed to climb. I’m sad to tell yall that on my NOLA walks, I have noticed many trees with branches of fruit rotting and drying up because of two things I believe.
- The “transplants” people who relocated here have no idea what a priceless tasty delicacy they possess and
- There are not enough natives/locals here to eat them up.
During the Misbelief Season, I plan to hit different streets on my NOLA walks and go around my old school areas. I know I will find a few trees around there. These little fruit trees grow all over the city. We have one in the backyard, and the fruit is delicious, like a sweet apricot with a bit of kiwi or banana mixed in. Loquats are often called “misbeliefs” by local children. And the reason that I have found that makes the most sense is that Italian immigrants long ago, who may have actually brought these trees to New Orleans, called them Mespila or Nespolo, the common name in Italy. Which somehow was changed to Misbelief over time.
My Dad whose parents spoke New Orleans Creole French said the Loquat tree was known as the Mispolese tree. People who did not know Old Creole French thought they were saying Misbelief tree. An Italian man told me they call it a very similar name in Italy, the Nespole tree. They usually bloom around Easter in the early spring. Deanna Marie
If you haven’t heard of the Misbelief Show hosted by DC PauL, Oshun, Martin’ Bats’ Bradford, Malik Bartholomew, & J. Steel on WBOK and https://themisbelief.podbean.com/ check them out, they are known for their love of the New Orleans fruit so much they named their show after it!
I’ve heard them being called Chinese plum, Japanese plum, loquat, and japonica… but did you know that only people in New Orleans (and maybe only people of a particular generation in New Orleans) call them Misbeliefs?
You’ve probably seen them… they seldom grow in your own yard, but haphazardly with wild branches from the yard of the shotgun house right next to your grandma’s. It kinda bled onto her property because nobody actually planted the tree or took care of it… but it served its purpose… why “Misbelief,” tho?
Some say that Italian immigrants actually brought these trees to New Orleans. They called them “Mespilus” or “Nespolo,” the common name in Italy. A Google search for these two names shows a very similar and related fruit, but not quite the same as a Misbelief. The flowers do not look the same to me. But what sounds right to me is a New Orleanian mispronunciation of a word in another language… What sounds right is for care, detail, and history to forget something so unique that freely produces beauty and bittersweetness in its season… or maybe it’s just a loquat… What’s your Misbelief story? #TheMisbelief
DC Paul is also known for his New Orleans liquor-infused Misbelief punch, and it’s so good.
To get you some of TheMisbeLief Punch, emaiL or or
TheMisbeLief is a brand created in 2015 by DC PauL and his business partner India Mack as a pLatform to highLight the city of New OrLeans through the eyes of bLack miLLenniaL creatives. Borrowing its name from what LocaLs so LovingLy caLL a Loquat, TheMisbeLief began using a Late night TV show format in ApriL 2016. At the recording of the piLot episode, TheMisbeLief Punch was born. DC had crafted a rum cocktaiL mimicking the fLavor of the Loquat, and it quickLy became a citywide hit
We need to educate people on this Nola Grown Sweet Treat and continue to pass down the tradition of grabbing a few branches to snack on. The issue with neighborhoods in New Orleans now is losing the village mentality. Our children can not directly go into a neighbor’s yard to pick fruit off their tree without risking their lives. Back in the day, the worst consequence was being greeted by a dog o. Or being yelled at for jumping a fence to get in someone’s yard. This only happened if you forgot to close their gate or spat seeds on the ground.
If you have a Misbelief (Loquat/ChinesePlum) tree in your yard, please pick the fruit and ask DC Paul and Froot Nola for a Misbelief Fruit recipe!
Host an event like Kid’s Pick a Treat Party, a picking contest, and so on. They will love it. Plus, you will not have a tree with rotten fruit or a yard of fruit droppings and possibly no more Misbeliefs for the rest of the season.
You can give them away or sell the fruit at the farmer’s market as well.
If all else fails, holla at me. I’ll gladly pick and eat anytime. Lol
What are Misbelief fruit:
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