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New Orleans

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a ballad about the recent events in New Orleans, about the way people who are poor are treated, and about the way the government sets priorities.
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A Toast to New Orleans

Well here’s to the town of New Orleans
where the saints go marching in
where it’s fair and it’s warm
and a hurricane storm,
combined with the follies of men
drowned hundreds of innocents and
made homeless two hundred thousand

And here’s to the big shots at FEMA
who cut funds for building the dams
raising horses don’t make
one an expert to say
where the water will eat up the land
and the money went to chasing Saddam
with the National Guard trucks and rations

Chorus: The people sat up through the windstorm
they’d seen hurricanes come and go
they watched through the night
as the eye passed them by
and hoped that their levees would hold
we all hope that our levees will hold

In three places weak walls in levees
gave way as the waters did rise
If you didn’t get out
don’t tell me it’s not about
money, cause mainly poor died
without credit cards or a ride
until water was 10 feet outside

The army came into New Orleans
too late for the poor souls who drowned
in the nursing homes
or in the heat of the Dome
who collapsed without water around
with no way to get themselves out of town
who’s protecting you the next time around?

Chorus: The people came up to their rooftops
to give TV choppers a view
but the FEMA man said no one told him the dead
were floating by on network news
so there wasn’t so much he could do

Now I’ve seen some natural disasters
and airplanes that made buildings fall
but I’ve never seen
in my country a scene
like was outside the Superdome walls
with the dead bodies stacked in the halls
and the children with no food at all

Now who’ll get the jobs in New Orleans?
and who will clean up and tear down?
not the residents now
sent to Houston and how
would they get back to their hallowed ground?
first they were refugees and now they found
outside contractors are working their town

Chorus: In neat rows, the yellow school buses
in black water up to their roofs
were never moved to high ground
to bring folks out of town
leaders failed us, there’s plenty of proof
there were few heros, and that’s the truth

I hope that you cry for New Orleans
and the years it will take to rebuild
and the people we lost, and the horrible cost
of priorities, cronies, and guilt
we can’t all live high on the hill
lift up the voices that water has stilled

And here’s to the town of New Orleans
where the saints go marching in
where it’s fair and it’s warm
and a hurricane storm,
combined with the follies of men
drowned hundreds of innocents and
could we let this happen again?

- Jim Oshinsky, September, 2005
Song Stats
Hits: 3805
Comments: 6
Fans: 4
Plays: 273
Downloads: 176
Votes: 10
Uploaded: Oct 12, 2005 - 07:17:46 AM
Last Updated: Jul 14, 2007 - 10:14:34 AM Last Played: May 25, 2019 - 11:03:04 PM
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Powerbook G4
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guitar and vocal
bronco said 5058 days ago (October 12th, 2005)
A Modern Guthrie
when I saw the title of this song and then read the description, I
moaned inwardly because I knew it would be so easy to go over the top
and do an excessively emotional, maudlin song. However, I have to say
I was pleasantly surprised. You have done a very good job of narrating
the story in your lyrics in much the same way that Woody Guthrie did
for the dust bowl folks. Musically it runs a little long without enough
variation. Perhaps you could rewrite it into one song about the
hurricane and then another about the aftermath? The chorus especially
could have used something to set it apart, different chords, melody
change, another instrument coming in, etc. But overall, I think you have
done a great job of writing lyrics that tell the story well, your
fingerpicking riff is nice and sounds good and your voice doesn't try to
get too emotional! I give it a 9 7 7 8.
Check out my latest song called Stenosis Commitosis
Jim O said 5058 days ago (October 12th, 2005)
A Modern Guthrie
There is no higher praise you could give than to compare this story with the
ones Woody Guthrie told. Believe it or not, I cut and re-wrote these verses for
weeks before saying "enough, this song has to get out." I remain surprised
that there have been so few songs on the airwaves about this major and
unprecedented disaster. What other American city has been evacuated and
substantially destroyed in our lifetimes? When else, since the dust bowl you
mention, has there been such a diaspora of displaced poor people? Whether
the song has any long-term listenability or not, it was one I had to write and
had to get out into the world. I would love it if someone with performance
credentials chose to record or perform it, but I am satisfied enough that one
other person (in this case, you) that I did not know, was reached by the song
and thought well of its message.
Check out my latest song called Hang Ensemble June 2007
aclarke said 5058 days ago (October 12th, 2005)
Well done
and well said.
Check out my latest song called Right on Time 2014- feat. David McNair
thetiler said 5051 days ago (October 19th, 2005)
such a terrific tune
High points from me.
Such great words! Singin spot on!
Can't say enough about this great folk tune!
Fantastic work here Jim

Check out my latest song called They Went Underground
TobinMueller said 5045 days ago (October 25th, 2005)
Excellent again
I already gave high marks to your other file by the same name, included it
in my Playlist, and loved the tune. Consider consolidating your files into
one place, maybe asking the fans here to transfer to your other file (which
has a higher score)?
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
Jim O said 5043 days ago (October 27th, 2005)
Excellent again
I have emailed the macjams powers that be to request that the duplicate song
files (entirely my error) get consolidated into one at the location 14224. That
does not seem to be a simple thing to do, so we live with current situation
where the same info is posted in two places. I did apologize for taking up the
extra bandwidth.
Check out my latest song called Hang Ensemble June 2007
Artist Info
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Name: Jim oshinsky
Location: Oceanside NY USA
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