Another New Orleans Artist

I don’t know if you know this or not, but if you have an iPod and you change from one computer to another the only songs that synch into the new computer are the ones you bought from the iTunes store. Anything else that you’ve put on the iPad from CDs get lost. I know this because it happened to me twice.

I’m a pirate at heart. As Jimmy Buffet would say, “Yes I am a pirate, 200 years too late. The cannons don’t thunder, there’s nothing to plunder, I’m an over 40 victim of fate.” When I was living in Antibes I used to listen to the wonderful Radio Baie des Anges station and stole probably more than 80 hours or great music from it. That’s where I found out about the Belgium group Vaya con Dios that I’ve featured here, and where I found Saffire, the Uppity Blues Women. When Napster was going strong I downloaded another tone of music from it.

This afternoon as it was pouring down rain on Boquerón, Panama, I dug out my huge pile of CDs and started adding them to my iPod and came across a New Orleans artist I’d forgotten about, Mary Gauthier (that’s pronounced Go-shay for those of you who don’t know Cajun).  I’d forgotten to reload her the first time my songs got dumped so I hadn’t heard her music for a couple of years.

I never saw Mary Gauthier. She wasn’t around when I was living in New Orleans. She was born in the Big Sleazy in 1962 and given up at birth by a mother she never knew. She was adopted by a couple in Thibodaux. At age 15, She ran away from home when she was 15 and spent the next several years in drug rehabilitation, halfway houses, and living with friends; she spent her 18th birthday in a jail cell. Struggling to deal with being adopted and her sexuality (we all know what that euphemism stands for and it certainly doesn’t make her a bad person)she used drugs and alcohol which later in her life provided fodder for her songs.

She enrolled at LSU as a philosophy major but dropped out in her senior year. After attending the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts in Cambridge, Mass., she opened a Cajun Restaurant in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood and called it Dixie Kitchen (which also became the title for her first album). Mary ran, and cooked at, the restaurant for eleven years. She was arrested for drunk driving opening night, July 12, 1990, and has been sober ever since. She wrote her first song when she was 35.

The following is the title song for her second album Drag Queens in Limousines…

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As my regular readers know New Orleans is the place where my soul resides though I will never return. The area has never, and will never, recover from the disaster of Hurricane Katrina and to go back would simply break my heart. I don’t think anyone can look at Gauthier’s Katrina memorial without getting choked up by what the people of New Orleans suffered through.

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One response to “Another New Orleans Artist

  1. I knew I recognized Mary Gauthier’s name, but didn’t know why until I clicked on the Katrina video. That’s powerful stuff, right there. I hated high school so much I don’t need to hear somebody singing about it, but it might be time to find a way to use that video again – just to help people remember.

    The Katrina vid is very powerful indeed. The only bad part about it is that people only think of New Orleans post Katrina and aren’t even away that places like Bay St. Louis and Waveland to the east and small towns to the west still aren’t back to normal nor will they probably every be. And Rita was simply icing on the disaster cake. As horrible as the 9-11 attack was it didn’t effect but a small group of people compared to Katrina and Rita with the exception of such things as the draconian “Patriot Act” and the TSA nonsense.