Song of Songs: Katrina

I’ve written about my connection to music before. Though I was graced with zero musical talent, it makes me whole. Grounds me when I’m anxious, makes me happy when I’m sad, and during those times when I just need to be sad, it helps me do that too. It’s no shock that I marked my journey from August 29, 2005 onward with song lyrics. As I reflected on what songs were important to me, I polled the people I know and love to see what songs helped them to grieve, rally, recover, and finally, celebrate. I took those ideas in, gave them some thought, and created a song made up of songs, if you will. Though not much more than an extensive cut-and-paste, seeing all of these words together in one place made me feel all of the feelings I’ve felt in the last ten years–desperation, determination, helplessness, hopelessness, faith, love, and triumph. It’s long and possibly hard to read, so if you stick with me until the end, I thank you.

Artists and songs are credited below, in the order in which they first appear.

image1 (1)What has happened down here is the winds have changed
Clouds roll in from the north and it started to rain
Rained real hard and it rained for a real long time
Six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline

And it rained, It was nothing really new
And it blew, we’ve seen all that before
And it poured, the Earth began to strain
Pontchartrain leaking through the door, tides at war

Here comes the rain again
Falling from the stars
Drenched in my pain again
Becoming who we are

Oh, the water
Oh, the water
Oh, the water

Some people got lost in the flood
Some people got away alright
Six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline
Louisiana, Louisiana
They’re tryin’ to wash us away

While I was watching you did a slow dissolve
Did I imagine they held us hypnotized
Life in slow motion
Somehow it don’t feel real

Sometimes a hurt is so deep, deep, deep
You think that you’re gonna drown
Sometimes all I can do is weep, weep, weep
With all this rain falling down
Strange how hard it rains now
Rows and rows of big dark clouds
I’m holding on underneath this shroud
Rain…

The water broke past the levee
My heart beats hard and heavy
There’s so much more to say
But I’m silent for now

And it stoned me to my soulHurricane Katrina 062
Stoned me just like goin’ home
And it stoned me

I cried to my daddy on the telephone, how long now?
Until the clouds unroll and you come home, the line went.
But the shadows still remain since your descent, your descent

What started as a whisper
Slowly turned in to a scream
Searching for an answer
Where the question is unseen.
Amen, Omen, Will I see your face again?

Round my hometown
Memories are fresh
Round my hometown
Ooh the people I’ve met
Are the wonders of my world

Tears stream down your face
When you lose something you cannot replace
Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

As my memory rests
But never forgets what I lost
Wake me up when September ends

Do you know what it means
To miss New Orleans
When that’s where you left your heart

Straight from the water
Straight from the water children
You don’t know nothing about this
Take me home

When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

May be surrounded by
A million people I
Still feel all alone
I just wanna go home
Oh, I miss you, you know
Let me go home
I’m just too far from where you are
I wanna come home

Do you know what is means
To miss New Orleans
And miss it each night and day
I know I’m not wrong
The feeling’s getting stronger
The longer I stay away

How can I make this unhappen?
You cannot make this unhappen
Take me back to New Orleans
And don’t call me anymore
‘Cause I might love you, yeah,
But I love me more

Wake me up when September ends

And I’d give it all away
Just to have
Somewhere to go to
Give it all away
To have someone
To come home to

It’s so hard to take this hurt
And hide it on a shelf
It’s just ’cause I never want
To be from somewhere else

If a hurricane doesn’t leave you deadMore Katrina 016
It will make you strong
Don’t try to explain it just nod your head
Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On

Shows that we ain’t gonna stand sh*t
Shows that we are united
Shows that we ain’t gonna take it

Ah stick ya chest out, keep your chin up
‘Cause sometimes you gotta get knocked down to get up
You keep bumping me against the wall
Yeah I know I let you slide before
But until you seen me…trust me
You ain’t seen bouncin’ back

And it’s been a long December and there’s reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last

Deep in my darkest hour
Standing alone in the shower
I let my emotions go
For now

Back where I come from
Where I’ll be when its said and done
I’m proud as anyone
That’s where I come from

Sing me something soft
Sad and delicate
Or loud and out of key
Sing me anything
Sing like you think no one’s listening

The things I thought you’d never know about me
Were the things I guess you always understood
So how could I have been so blind for all these years?
Guess I only see the truth through all this fear
And living without you
And everything I have in this world
And all that I’ll ever be
It could all fall down around me
Just as long as I have you right here by me

And when the night is cloudy there is still a light that shines on me
Shine until tomorrow, let it be

Let me go homemusicians-651293_1280
I’ve had my run
Baby, I’m done
I gotta go home
Let me go home
It’ll all be all right
I’ll be home tonight
I’m coming back home

Because the marching bands will roll
I’ll find my city in my soul
Because I plan on growing old
On the avenue
And the parades will ride again
I’ll see my family and my friends
Because this will not be the end
Of the avenue

I wake up to the sound of music, Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

Louisiana 1927/Randy Newman• Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On/Jimmy Buffett• Wake Me Up When September Ends/Green Day• And It Stoned Me/Van Morrison •Life In Slow Motion/David Gray •Rain/Patty Griffin •The Avenue/Cowboy Mouth •Amen, Omen/Ben Harper •Hometown Glory/Adele •Fix You/Coldplay •Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans/Louis Armstrong •Home/Marc Broussard •Let It Be/The Beatles •Home/Michael Buble •Take Me Back To New Orleans/Cowboy Mouth •My December/Linkin Park •Bouncin’ Back/Mystikal •Long December/Counting Crows •Back Where I Come From/Kenny Chesney •Existentialism On Prom Night/Straylight Run •Right Here By Me/Three Doors Down

Lindsay
Lindsay is a native New Orleanian, displaced only by her years at Mississippi State, where she earned a B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries and a minor in English. She came home shortly after Katrina, to work as a zookeeper and be a part of the rebuilding of her beloved city. She dragged her husband Drake, a Tennessee native, along with her. Their son Bennett joined the family in 2010, and in 2014 they welcomed identical twin girls, Genevieve and Kellen Clair. She now works full time as an Environmental Scientist and part-time as NOM’s resident Jill of All Trades. Powered by espresso, cake, and craft beer, her happy place is on a beach or in the woods. Need to identify a plant, tree, or animal? Lindsay’s a wealth of random knowledge. She loves to cook and sprinkle a little glitter on everything.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I’ll never forget hearing “Wake me up when September ends…” for the first time post-K. Lyrics have never better described what I was feeling more than those.

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