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New Orleans

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a ballad about Hurrican Katrina, the tragic loss of life, and the priorities of the government at all levels, leaving the poorest to fend for themselves
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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: 3695
Comments: 11
Fans: 2
Plays: 443
Downloads: 180
Votes: 14
Uploaded: Oct 11, 2005 - 04:12:59 PM
Last Updated: Jul 14, 2007 - 10:12:38 AM Last Played: Mar 08, 2018 - 08:52:55 AM
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thetiler said 4535 days ago (October 19th, 2005)
Terrrific -wow
This is one of the best folk tunes I've heard here at MJ.
These words are terrific Jim! really. I looked at your other song and it
looked like nobody came bye. Never have seen your song before. Havnt
had time to like at it. This is a gem Jim!
I am not sure if i"ve seen any posts or any music of your before.
So all I can say is welcome. I hope you stay here is a good one!

I think your are outstanding here and this is the first one I've heard you
do. I've listened to this gem twice now. I am amazed at these words
jim! So well crafted, with so much heartfelt meaning using your terrific

Can't say enough!
Check out my latest song called They Went Underground
I.G.M. said 4535 days ago (October 19th, 2005)
Great tune!
What can I say, but " really moving"! Hope to hear more from you!

Check out my latest song called Reflexions
chakeres said 4535 days ago (October 19th, 2005)
This is something
I really can't add to what tiler said. This song says it all in a very
concise form. Well done nice voice. I could listen to this 20 years from
now and be reminded of exactly what happened in New Orleans. Well
done, my hats off to you.-JAC
Check out my latest song called Steady
said 4535 days ago (October 19th, 2005)
I agree...
This is a very well crafted and performed folk song. So much pathos
and so many word pictures. Your guitar playing is right on and, as Bill
said, your vocal is classic for a lament type folk song. My only quibble
is with a few lines that communicate what now has become myth,
mainly regarding what happened in the Superdome. Total dead was
something like 6. No bodies stacked in the hall. Check out this
article by The Picayune, the main New Orleans newspaper....
I bring this up because this is a very, very good song and it shouldn't
be dismissed due to bad reporting by much of the media.
8-9-8-9... kudos!


aclarke said 4535 days ago (October 19th, 2005)
I thought...
I'd dropped a comment on this wonderful, sad song. It's powerful subject
matter- masterfully constructed and perfectly performed. Mostly though,
it's the passion and the emotion that comes through in the vocals that
blows me away. As far as I'm concerned this is a song that is above
criticism. It's absolutely perfect for what it is. And that is honest and true.
Check out my latest song called Right on Time 2014- feat. David McNair
TobinMueller said 4530 days ago (October 24th, 2005)
Instant classic
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
Jim O said 4530 days ago (October 24th, 2005)
Instant classic
Hello to all of the listeners, and thank you for taking the time to post
comments. By newbie error, this song is also posted at 14253, where one of
the commenters compared it with Woody Guthrie's songs. That was very
rewarding. Here's what I wrote in reply: "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 has there been such a diaspora of
displaced poor people? Whether this 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 (and a following) 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
Check out my latest song called Hang Ensemble June 2007
said 4477 days ago (December 16th, 2005)
laid-back rage
Excellent storytelling about a natural tragedy and the ensuing human
foibles. The voice is unhurried but resonant and resolute. The guitar
underbody is fully supportive and sonorous. Very, very nice.
said 4477 days ago (December 16th, 2005)
laid-back rage
Jim: I have very meager credentials and just a small following, but I'd like to
do my own version of this song for you. I told your son Josh that I'd be willing
to add texture to your recording but I am feeling a slightly different approach
well up inside me. Faster cadence. Same chord structure. Guitar + violin +
harmonica. Perhaps some variation in vox melody as the song unfolds. Josh
will vouch for me.
said 4463 days ago (December 30th, 2005)
laid-back rage
Well, I finally recorded my own version of Jim's wonderful song (after living
with it for about two weeks). Not saying it's any better...just the way I can
comfortably perform it for a live audience if and when I get a chance. http://

Once again, Jim, a GREAT narrative about a tragic event.
thoddi said 4477 days ago (December 16th, 2005)
So simple and plain with just the guitar and your voice. I did never miss any other instruments on this. You managed to keep me interested during the song. You're a great artist, and have a new fan:)
Check out my latest song called The King has left
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Name: Jim oshinsky
Location: Oceanside NY USA
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