44 Songs About Louisiana
The Magic of Louisiana
Louisiana is a magic place like no other. It's more than the debauchery of Mardi Gras. It's jazz, zydeco, and blues music. It's more than being able to drive to the local drive-thru Daiquiri Factory and order a frozen adult beverage. (No kidding. Note, however, that you're not allowed to drink it while driving.)
Between its bayous and plantation homes, Louisiana is paradise for both nature lovers and history aficionados. And for foodies, where else could you feast on po boys, beignets, jambalaya, pralines, étouffée, gumbo, and fried catfish quite this good?
Of course, there is that little thing about the weather. The humidity is brutal, it can rain like the bottom has dropped out of Heaven, and we all know about the devastating impact of its hurricanes.
On balance, however, Louisiana is a state worth celebrating. I was lucky enough to live there once. If you'll be taking a trip to Louisiana or have a soft spot for the Pelican State, then why not make a playlist of pop, rock, and country songs? We have a long list to start you out.
What do you MOST associate with Louisiana?
1. "Down at the Twist and Shout" by Mary Chapin Carpenter
If your toes don't start tapping to this fun 1991 country song, check your pulse because you're not alive, my friend! This Grammy Award-winning ditty celebrates two-stepping to Cajun music at the local bar as well as other facets of Louisiana culture: alligator stew, crawfish pie, and life on the bayou that includes the expectation of hurricanes.
2. "Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man" by Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty
Many musicians have sung this duet—most notably Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley—but no one does it better than the originals, legends Loretta and Conway. Their 1973 hit portrays a couple crazy in love but geographically separated by the mighty Mississippi River.
For the time being, they lovers take turns crossing the river to be together, not realizing that at some point they'll probably face a decision: one of them must leave their home state if they want to be together forever. That's the sacrifice of love!
Interesting Facts About Louisiana
The bridge over the Lake Pontchartrain causeway in Metairie, Louisiana, is the longest bridge in the world: nearly 24 miles (38.6 km).
New Orleans sits eight feet (2.45 m) below sea level. According to a NASA study, the city sinks up to 1.6 inches (40 mm) each year on account of both natural and human-induced processes.
Louisiana has one of the highest alligator populations in the United States. There are about half as many alligators as there are people in the state. And yes, people eat alligator. (It tastes like chicken.)
Louisiana is the only state with a large population of Cajuns. They are descended from Acadians who in the 1700s were driven out of Canada because they refused to pledge allegiance to the King of England.
Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was one of the deadliest hurricanes in the United States, costing $108 billion in property damage and at least 1,833 lives.
Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, is known as the Crawfish Capital of the World.
The United States purchased the Louisiana Territory from France in 1803 for $15 million, almost doubling the size of the country. (Adjusted for inflation, that's $233 million.)
Louisiana is one of only two states in the country that does not have counties; it has 64 political subdivisions called parishes. (Alaska has boroughs instead of counties.)
Louisiana is the biggest producer of salt in the country, with 24% of the nation's salt supply coming from the state.
The only American Revolutionary War site outside of the original 13 colonies was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Louisiana was named in honor of King Louis XIV.
Mardi Gras colors are Purple (Justice), Gold (Power), and Green (Faith)
Drive-thru daiquiris are a reality in Louisiana. (Yep.) Head on over to the Daiquiri Hut and select your frozen concoction. Add a jello shot or two.
Approximately 1.4 million people attend Mardi Gras every year. The annual direct and indirect impact of Mardi Gras exceeds $465 million.
The entrance to the voodoo underworld, Guinee, is in New Orleans. Local tradition says that the seven gates to Guinee are scattered throughout the French Quarter.
The gorgeous Nottoway Plantation in White Castle is the largest antebellum mansion in the South and served as the model for the mansion in Disney's animated movie, "The Princess and The Frog."
Famous people born in Louisiana include: rapper Lil Wayne, tv show host Ellen DeGeneres, political consultant James Carville, football players Peyton and Eli Manning, actress Reese Witherspoon, and country singers Tim McGraw, Kix Brooks, and Trace Adkins.
Other famous people born in Louisiana: exercise guru Richard Simmons, singer Mahalia Jackson, singer Harry Connick Jr., actor Tyler Perry, author Truman Capote, lawyer Johnnie Cochran, jazz great Louis Armstrong, singer Jerry Lee Lewis, and actor Jared Leto,
3. "Louisiana Saturday Night" by Mel McDaniel
If you're a Duck Dynasty fan, maybe you recall one of the reality stars trying to sing this 1980 song as he came out of dental anesthesia. The country classic describes a Saturday night family hoe-down, in which all the kinfolk come over. They kick off their shoes and dance all night in the kitchen to fiddle music while drinking beer. Now doesn't that sound like a hoot?
4. "Callin' Baton Rouge" by Garth Brooks
The cowboy in this catchy country song is a trucker who spent the previous night in Baton Rouge with a flirty young woman named Samantha who he had just met. (Hey, stop judging.)
Now his travels are taking him away from her. However, his heart is still stranded in Cajun country. And because this is a song from 1993, the love-stricken fella can't text message her, and he doesn't have a cell phone yet, so he's stopping every hundred miles to call his new sweetheart.
5. "New Orleans" by Kid Rock
Laissez les bons temps rouler. (Translated literally, "let the good times roll.")
Kid Rock is making a break for it, leaving his native Detroit for the Big Easy in this jazz-influenced 2007 rock song. He misses jambalaya, crawfish pie, and the music of the Neville brothers. There's also a friend of his who's gonna treat him right down near Bourbon Street. I'm betting he's a paying customer kind of friend.
6. "Born on the Bayou" by Creedence Clearwater Revival
This 1969 rock song is a signature song for CCR. The narrator recalls his youth, living in the backwoods of the bayou. (A bayou is a marshy, slow-moving outlet of a river or lake.) It was Fourth of July, and he chased a voodoo-type spirit.
Of course, John Fogerty, the writer of the song, grew up in faraway Berkeley, California. At the time, he had never been to a bayou. However, that's what writers do: pretend.
7. "Queen of New Orleans" by Jon Bon Jovi
In this 1997 rock song, the narrator recalls his romantic meetup with a mysterious Cajun girl several years prior. She donned a fine burgundy dress, and as they danced in the streets of New Orleans, he has visions that he was dancing with famed voodoo mistress Madame Marie Laveau.
8. "Lady Marmalade" by Patti LaBelle
Maybe it's her sweet voice, but somehow Patti LaBelle managed to make a song about a freaking prostitute sound not so raunchy. The New Orleans paid lady shows up to do business with a man named John. She flirts with him, then ends up taking him home with her.
The hook of the song is famous, although Patti LaBelle has asserted that she didn't know what it meant at the time: "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi (ce soir)?" ("Do you want to sleep with me (tonight)?"). Her version was named to Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. In 2001, Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mya, and Pink recorded an adapted and not-as-classy version for the Moulin Rouge movie soundtrack.
9. "Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight" by The Oakridge Boys
In this catchy 1979 country song, Mary was a hometown Louisiana girl who got drunk and fell in love (or something like it) with a traveling man. He was just passing through, but when Mary's daddy caught wind of the shenanigans, he threatened to make alligator bait out of the traveler.
The "daughter gone bad" decided to head off down the highway with her traveling lover, leaving her mama crying, head in her hands. We all probably know how this one works out, but you can't tell youngin's nothin'.
10. "Apache Rose Peacock" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers
The narrator in this 1991 rock song makes references to the voodoo gurus, ostentatious drag queens, and jazz music of New Orleans. He loves the place. With lots of sexually suggestive references, one must assume that he is at Mardi Gras. Having met a beautiful, showy woman in the French Quarter, he enjoys the fact that she's "insane" and permits sex in public places. This is every parent's nightmare.
11. "Proud Mary" by Creedence Clearwater Revival
Although many people associate this song with Ike and especially Tina Turner, it's actually a CCR original. The rock tune describes a man's journey via riverboat from the city down the Mississippi River to New Orleans. It also makes mention of some of the odd jobs he held to make ends meet. Over 100 artists have performed cover versions of this classic since CCR made it an international hit in 1969.
12. "Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On" by Jimmy Buffett
This moving country song from 2006 is about moving on in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. No one will forget people stranded on rooftops begging for rescue, abandoned animals, and dead bodies floating in floodwater. At least 1,833 human lives were lost, and so many more lives were changed forever.
Jimmy Buffett captures the aftermath aptly:
If a hurricane doesn't leave you dead
It will make you strong
Don't try to explain it just nod your head
Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On.
13. "Adalida" by George Strait
Brimming over with compliments, the Louisiana country boy in this upbeat 1984 tune has his heart set on a pretty Cajun girl named Adalida. Wearing a simple cotton dress and a flirty smile, she might as well be the belle of the ball by the way all of the guys are admiring her. Romeo lets her know that he'd swim the Ponchartrain or walk through a hurricane just to be with her.
14. "In The Clear" by Foo Fighters
It was appropriate that this poignant 2014 rock song was recorded in New Orleans. It's hard not to think of New Orleans' hurricanes and its tendency for flooding, with the city being below sea level and sinking further every year.
The narrator conveys the vulnerability and despair of the heavy rain. He feels like both he and the person he is addressing are in danger, and while it's possible that he could drown, he doesn't want anyone to count him out.
15. "Iko Iko" by The Dixie Cups
This 1965 international hit is one of the most well-known songs of Mardi Gras. It has a checkered legal past, with multiple parties claiming authorship. Regardless, the catchy song is based on a traditional call and response chant sung by New Orleans Mardi Gras Indians. According to the tune, one tribe's spy boy, or look out, encounters another tribe's flag boy and threatens to light their flag ablaze.
16. "Marie Laveau" by Bobby Bare
Don't call her a witch; Marie Laveau was a priestess, the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. This 1974 country song, often played at Halloween time, describes the Creole woman who was famous for being an accomplished practitioner of the occult.
Marie's daughter, Marie Laveau II, continued her storied career and was a theatrical presenter of voodoo in and around New Orleans, walking the streets as if she owned them. In a way she did. Working as a hairdresser to wealthy women, she had an extensive network of informants and thus yielded great power and influence.
The song pokes a bit of fun at Marie Laveau's legend and lore, referring to her magic spells and potions and her extensive reputation for instilling fear. It tells the story of a man who seeks a magic wealth spell. But when Marie takes a liking to him, he makes the mistake of rejecting her advances, and thus falls prey to her dark magic.
17. "Louisiana Moon" by Avery Michaels
The cowboy in this romantic 2005 country song is thankful for the Louisiana moon. As the stars shine down and the warm wind blows, the moon brings back memories of falling in love. He and his sweetheart are trying to hang on to love, and he looks upon the Louisiana moon as a friend.
18. "House of the Rising Sun" by The Animals
A traditional folk song, this 1964 international hit is the tale of a man whose life has gone wrong in New Orleans. Son of a seamstress and an alcoholic gambler, the narrator has followed too closely in the footsteps of his father. No matter how hard he has tried to escape his life of sin and misery, he keeps returning to old habits in The Big Easy's House of the Rising Sun.
19. "Louisiana Rain" by John Wesley Ryles
The Louisiana man in this 1988 country song knows there's no use in complaining about the state's subtropical climate. If you're going to live there, it just comes with the territory. As the river continues to rise and he's feeling restless because there are downed power lines that are keeping him from reaching his sweetheart, he therefore reminds himself that eventually the rain will clear and the sun will shine again.
20. "Lake Charles" by Lucinda Williams
In this country song from 1998, a man's heart keeps beckoning him back to Lake Charles, Louisiana. He'd talk about the place and felt at home there. Although he was from east Texas, Louisiana was in his heart and he kept going back to Lake Charles.
Just marry the girl and move there! What are you waiting for?
Even More Songs About Louisiana
21. Louisiana Hot Sauce
22. Louisiana Rain
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
23. Down Louisiana Way
24. Louisiana Women
25. New Orleans
26. Louisiana 1927
27. Louisiana Moon
29. Bourbon Street
Little River Band
30. Dark Lady
31. Crescent City
32. Cajun Country
Hank WIlliams Jr.
33. Down Louisiana Way
34. This City
35. City of New Orleans
36. Louisiana Melody
37. New Orleans Ladies
38. Ain't No Place to Pee on Mardi Gras Day
39. Blue Bayou
40. Witch Queen of New Orleans
41. Swamp Grass
42. Jambalaya (On the Bayou)
Hank Williams Sr.
43. Amos Moses
44. Red River
Questions & Answers
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