Why do New Orleanians sometimes pronounce ask as ax, as in the Meters’ song, They All Axed Fer You? The answer may surprise you. According to grammar maven Patricia O'Conner, the pronunciation dates back to the 8th century, when the predecessor of ask had two forms: ascian and acsian. In 1386, Chaucer wrote of “a man that ... cometh for to axe him of mercy.” And a 1536 translation of the Bible includes lines like “Axe and it shal be giuen you.” It was not until the 17th century that ask supplanted ax.
So if you say ax instead of ask, you’re just a stickler for tradition. Really old tradition.