Louisiana 1927

NPR just played Aaron Neville’s beautiful cover of the Randy Newman song (lyrics as they appear on the original (1974) cover of Newman’s album “Good Old Boys,” which Kate pulled out of her stack of old records while we debated whether the words I found online were correct. Oh, for the record: She was right.):

“What has happened down here is the winds have changed

Clouds roll in from the north and it starts to rain

Rained real hard and it rained for a real long time

Six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline

“The river rose all day

The river rose all night

Some people got lost in the flood

Some people got away alright

The river has busted through clear down to Plaquemines

Six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline

“Louisiana, Louisiana

They’re tryin’ to wash us away

They’re tryin’ to wash us away

Louisiana, Louisiana

They’re tryin’ to wash us away

They’re tryin’ to wash us away

“President Coolidge come down in a railroad train

With a little fat man with a note-pad in his hand

The President say, ‘Little fat man isn’t it a shame what the river has done

to this poor cracker’s land’

“Louisiana, Louisiana

They’re tryin’ to wash us away

They’re tryin’ to wash us away

Louisiana, Louisiana

They’re tryin’ to wash us away

They’re tryin’ to wash us away

They’re tryin’ to wash us away

They’re tryin’ to wash us away”

(I note that Neville says “farmer’s” instead of “cracker’s.”)

A couple days ago, CNN published a little somewhat drippy backgrounder on the song and the events it’s based on. The occasion for NPR playing “Louisiana” was an interview with John Barry, author of “Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America.” The Wikipedia has the bare-bones facts about the disaster, which was a big topic during the 1993 flood.

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