The Royal Street Easter Egg Playlist–DJ’s Jukebox

I’ve been posting YouTube stuff from the Royal Street playlist over the past week (or longer), but some of the stuff isn’t available, so here’s the Easter Egg version! In no particular order–except the last one, which is special to me….

1. Temporarily Ain’t Dere No More, by Benny Grunch & the Bunch. Benny and his group had done a couple of versions of a song called “Ain’t Dere No More” about all the longtime businesses that had closed in recent years. After Katrina, he re-recorded a Katrina version rapping a fraction of the places that were “temporarily” gone. Several places in Royal Street are mentioned: Lakeview, where Gerry St. Simon lives and where DJ grew up; Delacroix (pronounced Della-crow) and a bar called “End of the World” near Delacroix–this is where the opening scene of the book takes place. The CD came out the first Christmas after Katrina and this track also include’s Benny’s intro to the song “Over By Your Mom’n’em,” which I posted on Saturday.

2. Jean Lafitte, by Roy Mette. An obscure little song about our favorite pirate, who came into Royal Street for one scene–the opening–and just wouldn’t leave.

3. Walking to New Orleans, by Fats Domino. This is DJ’s ringtone for the first two books of the series. It was also my cellphone ringtone until a couple of years ago.

4. Zydeco Gris-Gris, by Beausoleil avec Michael Doucet. I love this song. It has a couple of Royal Street reference points. There’s a line in here about the loup-garou, which is French for werewolf. In the Royal Street world, the Loup-Garou is a rogue species of werewolf and very, very bad news. The direct reference to this song occurs over in the middle of Royal Street. DJ is feeling reckless after getting some bad news, so she goes to the Green Gator bar, plays this song on the jukebox, and pretty much dances around by herself.

5. Jolie Blon, by Zachary Richard. This is my favorite version of the song, and as I mentioned Saturday, Jean Lafitte’s pet name for DJ is “Jolie,” in honor of this old Cajun song which is often called the “Cajun National Anthem.” There are a bazillion versions, but this is my favorite.

6. Pontchartrain Prayer Flags, by Noelle Price. This song isn’t so much special to Royal Street as it is special to me. In 2006, not long after Katrina, a singer-songwriter from California came to New Orleans to manage an AmeriCorps construction crew rebuilding houses. She met my friend Nick Marinello in a coffee house where they were both playing, and eventually got married. They’re just awesome people, and this is a song Noelle wrote and recorded after seeing so many mardi gras beads smiling out from the rubble of people’s lives all over town. In Royal Street, I name the pizza place across from DJ’s house after Nick and Noelle. So when you see references to Marinello’s Pizza, well, that’s where the name comes from!

Hope you enjoyed the music!

Royal Street Playlist Part 2–and Weekly W*inners

First off, the weekly winners:

Congratulations to CARL who won the signed copy of Royal Street (and whose footsteps I do not hear behind me, LOL). To EVERYONE: if you’ve preordered the book and would like a bookplate and haven’t already told me so, let me know. I’m going to start sending them out this week. Make sure to tell me what name you want it signed to.

Congrats to STELLA (EX LIBRIS), who won Alma Katsu’s The Taker.

Congrats to AURIAN, who won Eve Marie Mont’s A Breath of Eyre.

Congrats to LESLEY D, who won Back from the Undead by DD Barant as this week’s Reader’s Choice.

Winners (and people wanting bookplates), email me HERE with your snail-mail address.

Continuing with the playlist today…I love music, and it’s important to my writing process. For Royal Street, I listened to a lot of the music that had been written about Hurricane Katrina, so I’m sharing some of it today.

Here’s a contender for most poignant–it’s by Jep Epstein, called “Our Home Louisiana.” The funny thing is, Blue Cross Blue Shield was using part of this song for an ad campaign, but then Katrina hit and people started wanting to hear the whole song. I couldn’t listen to this song without crying for at least a year after the storm. I had the pleasure of hearing Jep perform this live at several events at Tulane (where he went to school):

Here is what I think is the most poignant of all the post-Katrina songs, written by my current musical obsession, Zachary Richard: “The Levee Broke.” I like this song because it makes reference to the real cause of the Katrina damage: coastal erosion, poor levee maintenance, politics, apathy.  He mentions Plaqumines (where River Road is set), Lakeview, which is a neighborhood where a lot of Royal Street is set, St. Bernard, where the first chapter of Royal Street is set, etc.

Next is a song that was really about the 1927 Mississippi River flood, but (like Aaron Neville’s version of “Louisiana 1927” I posted yesterday), this Zachary Richard song became even more poignant after Katrina. Anyway, here’s Zachary doing an unplugged version of “Big River,” which he posted in support of a flood in Canada a year or so ago.

Another post-K song, this is “Godforsaken Town” by Reckless Kelly.

And yet another, “I Am the Big Easy,” by Ray Bonneville. Love this!

More music coming Wednesday, and I promise to lighten up and give you some Easter Eggs. This was the heavy stuff!