Lots of sports and lots of nothing have graced the magical electronic airwaves this week from Super Bowl in New Orleans. We know almost everything about the two brothers Harbaugh coaching against each other almost to the point that I fear we will learn about each one’s success at toilet training. We know the San Francisco 49ers player, who don’t seem to be as much of a “player” as he thinks, who said we “the team” ain’t got no gays! Okay he didn’t say it exactly like that. But he is so much of a non-story that I will not bother to look up his name so excuse me if I don’t quote him verbatim.
And we’ve had Ravens perhaps Hall of Fame-to-be linebacker turned street preacher Ray Lewis accused of using a potion from deer antlers. Give me a break. This guy got a lesser charge of obstructing justice on a murder rap! It’s supposedly the last season for Ray Lewis. But we’ve heard that before from some who just can’t kill the golden goose even though he … sorry. Forgive me pastor, for being so cynical.
What we’ve not heard a lot of or a lot about is music. New Orleans is music. The vaunted Mardi Gras Carnival time is now. A few parades were shifted around to accommodate the big game. So what comes to your mind when you hear “New Orleans?” “Oh when the Saints go marching in … ” perhaps? Well, maybe you think “Katrina.” Bad vibe indeed. Let’s just say when you think of New Orleans music a song will come with it.
All large U.S. cities have songs written about them or in their title or lyrics: “New York, New York these vagabond shoes they are longing to stray … ” Or maybe a little “Chicago, Chicago that toddlin’ town … ” Even jump on down to the No. 10th largest city, “Deep within my heart lies a melody, a song of old San Antone, San Antone … ” Okay, it’s actually San Antonio, but give me some license Jack!
New Orleans is a large U.S. — not as large as before Katrina hit. Actually, U.S. Census figures show NOLA was declining in population before Katrina. The city ranked 24th in the ’90 Census but shrank to 31st in the 2000 Census. Today it is 51st in the U.S. However, rebuilding and repopulating has made the Crescent City the fastest growing large city in the U.S., according to the 2010 decennial tally.
Hey, all that stuff don’t mean a thing. Well it does to some. It means something to many to be exact. But even if New Orleans was a just a tiny photograph of itself the city would still be playing music and folks would be singing “Iko, Iko” or a jazz band would still be blasting away as some soul was carried to his final resting place. Well, providing no more Katrinas come along.
Songs remain in our minds and on our musicians fingers and hands and lips so we all hear songs about New Orleans or with a New Orleans reference like just a half-dozen of my favorites:
“New Orleans Lady,” Le Roux (Louisiana’s Le Roux)
“Battle of New Orleans,” Johnny Horton
“Hey, Hey, (Indian’s comin’)” The Wild Tchoupitoulas
“Walking to New Orleans” Fats Domino
“House of the Rising Sun” The Animals
“Louisiana 1927 (The river had busted through clear down to Plaqemines/Six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline.)” Randy Newman
Well, all six songs may “technically” not about New Orleans proper but it don’ madda.
Sorry, I’m just not up to linking all the songs. If you want to hear them, you know what to do. Oh, and as for the songs about big cities. I am flying to Dallas next week but I, hopefully, won’t be flying at night and definitely will not be flying on a DC-9 at night.