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Return to Louisiana

November 1, 2010

I’ve been back in Louisiana for the past few weeks, working on a series of articles and audio podcasts for the online edition of OnEarth Magazine, an independent publication of the Natural Resources Defense Council. The series, called “Losing Louisiana,” is about the long-term aftermath of the BP oil spill, as well as 80 years’ worth of environmental assaults on the Gulf Coast. It is going online bit-by-bit and can be read here. Music lovers will appreciate this podcast of Drew Landry, whose performance of “BP Blues” before the national commission investigating the oil spill gained him overnight attention. The podcast features his sequel, about seven clean-up workers who were hospitalized last May.

I’ve also used this trip to visit with some of the musicians featured in our radio documentaries. Blues diva Carol Fran whose 76th birthday party is featured in Hour 1, just turned 77, and she had another party at Cruisers, a small cinder-block bar at the edge of Lafayette with a warm family feel. It took a while for Carol’s friends and family to convince her to sing, but of course she rocked the house when she did. Here’s a video. (And yes, the lighting really was that red.)

In New Orleans, I also visited John T. Lewis, the blues and R&B guitarist who is featured in Hour 2. We spent part of the time with harmonica player J.D. Hill. Here’s a short video of Lewis and Hill jamming inside Hill’s house in New Orleans Musicians’ Village.

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