You can’t love a place unless you know it
really know it              like you were born there
moved there young              had time to explore
walk the streets                   talk to the people

New Orleans never was a cream and sugar town
it was a poor place                black coffee place
good place to visit if you didn’t dig too deep
hard place to live                  lots of folks went there
ordered up a plate of crawfish they didn’t eat
mostly they wanted to hear about Jelly Roll
ask if Fats was still alive                    go to the races
at the Fair Grounds                 ride the St. Charles trolley
see the skin on Bourbon Street                        look for Miss
Rice in the French Quarter                  go back to Dallas
Denver           Detroit              say they been to Al Hurt’s
saw Blackmen play horns and accordions                 try to
explain Zydeco                      recite the ingredients in a
hurricane they had at Pat O’              what was that
Irishman’s name?                   O’Brady                    O’Bunyon
O’Brannon                  O’Something

They didn’t catch the win’s name                   the old
Blackman that asked for 50¢ (cash money not the rapper)
the dancer that had him reaching for his wallet
again/again and again              the waitress that served the
Cajun coffee at Mama’s                     or the guy that mixed
the hurricane at the Irish bar with the elusive name

I knew these people                where they lived                  worked
their days off               their daddies     what school their
kids went to or skipped

The president don’t know New Orleans                      he’s like
one of those tourists                was before the Gulf served up
a drink bigger than the hurricanes at Pat O’Whatsits
is after the GOP came down the Mississippi and set up a
blockade woulda made the Union Navy proud                      to keep the
natives from going to the polls

If I do go back         all the places and people have
shifted              some ain’t coming back                  some ain’t opening
back up                       some are dead          all are broke             most
likely though tourists are already there                       drinking
hurricanes                  asking about Mardi Gras                   looking for Fats
drinking more hurricanes                     too many hurricanes