August 28 — LOUISIANA 1927, Randy Newman (1974)

29D69CAE-5B54-4C67-87E0-1C78085D1202The first time I noticed this song was in the fall of 2000, during my Great Southern Road Trip. The song had appeared on an Oxford American CD and eventually made it onto a mix tape I had made for the trip. It was while in Lafayette, Louisiana, when I looked up and saw the street sign — “Evangeline Street” — as this song played. Exactly five years later, as I moved out of my house on South Trenton in Tulsa, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. I recall making a conscious decision not to pout over the hassle of the move; a lot of people in New Orleans would be grateful for such a pain. A few years later I visited New Orleans — decimated, but still full of joy and life — for my friends Kathy and Eddie’s wedding party. Katrina had driven them out and they hadn’t gone back. And I read “The Great Deluge” by Douglas Brinkley, a harrowing account of one of America’s greatest failures to take care of its own. For some reason, Katrina for me has always been personal. Ten years later, so is this song.


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