Does anyone know what "Did Mama give me what for." mean? I think it might be a saying from Louisiana. I read this in a book. It was discussing how a mother would get upset when her daughter misbehaved.
"to give someone what for" is an idiom.
It's not specifically from Louisiana, although people there might use it. The expression is commonly used here in the UK, and probably many other places too. It means to admonish/reprimand someone.
The "Did Mamma" part forms a rhetorical question used for dramatic effect, like when you say something such as "Oh boy, was she angry!"
Give (someone) (the) what for
To punish, rebuke, scold, or berate someone thoroughly and intensely.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms (via idioms.thefreedictionary.com)
- I told her a thousand times not to take the car without asking! Well, I'll give her what for when she gets home.
- The boss is quick to give you the what for if you make even a minor mistake.