Monday, April 14, 2008

Snow in New Orleans - Music Monday

I don't usually get a chance to participate in Allison's Music Mondays because I'm always hosting Monday Missions (see post below!)but after my time at the French Quarter Festival on Friday, this post has been brewing. So here I am... posting it late on Monday....

At the 2006 Jazzfest I heard local singer Susan Cowsill (yes, of the famed Cowsill family and The Continental Drifters)on one of the main stages. I was enjoying her folksy sound, and then she sang a song that really struck me. She wrote it after Katrina, and spoke about that experience. On Christmas Day 2004 it snowed in New Orleans. As a kid growing up in Michigan I know that snow on Christmas can be magical. I can only imagine what it was like for Louisiana children - and adults - to experience that sparkling white stuff. It was before we moved here, but I heard tales of it after I arrived. Saw the pictures. Heard the wonder. Almost exactly 8 months later another amazing feat of nature visited the city, but the awe and wonder that Katrina brought was not of the same magical quality.

I heard Susan Cowsill sing this song again on Friday, with the mighty Mississippi as her backdrop. The song is no less powerful 2 years later. It starts sweet and contemplative, sad and tenuous, and ends as a celebration of this city, of who we are and where we come from. I couldn't find a video to put here, and blogger doesn't support audio files, but if you follow this link you can hear the song at Susan Cowsill's website.

Here are the words:
CRESCENT CITY SNOW

I feel like a kite without a string
Only my tail to guide me
Just paper and sticks and tattered sheets
Waiting on a friendly wind

Hold all our memories in one hand
So tight that you won't let them go
And in the other hand we pray
That the wind and the panic and the rain
Will all turn to a
Soft and quiet snow

A long time ago when
I was young
I used to know everything
And now it's today and I am sure
That I don't know anything at all

Hold all our memories in one hand
So tight that you won't let them go
And in the other hand we pray
That the wind and the panic and the rain
Will all turn to a
Soft and quiet, gentle peaceful snow

When the Saints come marchin' in
I'll be walking to New Orleans
Eating beignets at DuMonde'
Singing Joni at the Carrollton Station
Hanging out at Jackson Square
12 o'clock I'll meet you there
Down on Frenchmen with Big Chief
Trying to find a place to eat
Tailgatin' at the Dome
Man I can't wait to go home

Our precious hearts are all shattered
Scattered across the land
But I know that I am going back
To the place where I know who I am

Holding all our memories in one hand
So tight that you can't let them go
And in the other hand we pray
That the wind and the panic and the rain
Will all turn to a
Soft and quiet, gentle peaceful, N-O-L-A,
Crescent City Snow

3 a.m. at the Circle Bar
Where the hell did we park the car
6 a.m. at the Christmas Lounge
Man we got a hell of a town
A town where yourgrandma tells my grandma
While they are sitting by the fire
And we all go down to the Audubon Zoo
Where they all ax for you
And they say
Who Dat
Who Dat
Who Dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints
Who Dat
Who Dat
Who Dat say dey gonna
beat dem Saints
Oh when the Saints come marchin' in

(And I highly encourage you to buy the album Feeder Bands on the Run, where you'll find this song among many others written by New Orleans musicians trying to make sense of Katrina through their music.)

10 comments:

TZT said...

Thanks for posting this. I adore Susan Cowsill's voice (I love love love Continental Drifters) and didn't know about this moving song.

thailandchani said...

Any relation to the older folk group "The Cowsills"? (The Rain The Park and Everything)

another good thing said...

Beautiful. You are lucky to be in such a culturally rich city, and to have a heart that appreciates it.

womaninawindow said...

That was really lovely. And again, I'm so happy I got to visit New Orleans before the disaster. Such a rich place.

Julie Pippert said...

Wow, lovely.

I love how people are processing all of this through so many avenues of arts, including this music. It is setting this time into history forever, as well.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

What extraordinary lyrics. Very powerful!

Emily said...

Wow, MP!

You've done it again, inciting love and passion for your city.

That's a beautiful song. Thanks for sharing it.

MamaGeek said...

This was BEAUTIFUL. This was FAR too easy for you. Dang you and your TALENT! :)

JCK said...

Beautiful lyrics!

Kate said...

Thank you for sharing it. The words are compelling. I'm certain it is even better when sung.