New Atlantis: Musicians Battle for the Survival of New Orleans

ISBN : 9780199931712

John Swenson
320 ページ
148 x 226 mm

At its most intimate level, music heals our emotional wounds and inspires us. At its most public, it unites people across cultural boundaries. But can it rebuild a city? That's the central question posed in New Atlantis, journalist John Swenson's beautifully detailed account of the musical artists working to save America's most colorful and troubled metropolis: New Orleans. The city has been threatened with extinction many times during its three-hundred-plus-year history by fire, pestilence, crime, flood, and oil spills. Working for little money and in spite of having lost their own homes and possessions to Katrina, New Orleans's most gifted musicians-including such figures as Dr. John, the Neville Brothers, "Trombone Shorty," and Big Chief Monk Boudreaux-are fighting back against a tidal wave of problems: the depletion of the wetlands south of the city (which are disappearing at the rate of one acre every hour), the violence that has made New Orleans the murder capitol of the U.S., the waning tourism industry, and above all the continuing calamity in the wake of Hurricane Katrina (or, as it is known in New Orleans, the "Federal Flood"). Indeed, most of the neighborhoods that nurtured the indigenous music of New Orleans were destroyed in the flood, and many of the elder statesmen have died or been incapacitated since then, but the musicians profiled here have stepped up to fill their roles. New Atlantis is their story. Packed with indelible portraits of individual artists, informed by Swenson's encyclopedic knowledge of the city's unique and varied music scene-which includes jazz, R&B, brass band, rock, and hip hop-New Atlantis is a stirring chronicle of the valiant efforts to preserve the culture that gives New Orleans its grace and magic.


Table of Contents
1. Voice of the Wetlands
2. African Americans and Indians
3. The Constantinople of the New World
4. Sad night in Jackson Square
5. Return of the Spirits
6. Let It Go
7. Don't Let Them Wash Us Away
8. Reality Check
9. Don't Take My Picture
10. Musicians Strike Back at Violence
11. I am New Orleans
12. Shorty on the Block
13. The Armstrong Legacy
14. Cold in the Trailer
15. If I Can Help Somebody
16. Baghdad on the Mississippi
17. Brown Baby Dead in the Water
18. On the Fringes
19. City That Care Forgot
20. Wild and Free
21. Saving at the Bank of Soul
22. It Ain't Just the Suit
23. Bourbon Street Blues
24. Snooks Flies Away
25. Ghosts of Traditional Jazz
26. New Blood
27. Jazz Fest turns 40
28. New Atlantis
29. McDermott's Duets
30. Cyril's Nightmare
31. The Wizard of Piety Street
32. Blues Come Down Like Rain
33. Cyril Comes Full Crcle
34. Marching In


John Swenson has been a syndicated columnist for more than 20 years at UPI and Reuters. His account of musicians returning to New Orleans after Katrina, The Bands Played On, appeared in Da Capo's Best Music Writing 2007; his Every Accordionist a King won the 2008 Best Entertainment Feature award from the Press Club of New Orleans. Swenson has been an editor for Crawdaddy, Rolling Stone, Circus, Rock World, Offbeat, and other publications. He is the author of The Rolling Stone Jazz and Blues Album Guide (Random House, 1999); Stevie Wonder (Plexus, 1989); and Bill Haley: The Daddy of Rock and Roll (Stein and Day, 1985).