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Gwen Thompkins is a New Orleans native, NPR veteran and host of WWNOs Music Inside Out , where she brings to bear the knowledge and experience she amassed as senior editor of Weekend Edition, an East Africa correspondent, the holder of Nieman and Watson Fellowships, and as a longtime student of music from around the world.
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    There's so much water in, around and underneath New Orleans, that the dead spend eternity in tombs above ground.

    Most of the tombs now have a similar design: On top, there's space for a wooden coffin or two, and at the bottom lies a potpourri of decanted family remains. Sooner or later, whoever is up high must vacate and settle lower, making room for the newly dead.


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    On the tough side of Terpsichore Street in New Orleans stands a duplex — a two-story, wood-framed building with wood floors, high ceilings and a nice fireplace. But this old house is empty: no furniture, no walls, no electricity, no toilet. Iron bars hide the windows; there's a lockbox on the door. The facade is three different shades of blecch, blurgh and blah.

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYT6RkTe26M

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0Eajg5yTEo


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    There's so much water in, around and underneath New Orleans, that the dead spend eternity in tombs above ground. Most of the tombs now have a similar design: On top, there's space for a wooden coffin or two, and at the bottom lies a potpourri of decanted family remains. Sooner or later, whoever is up high must vacate and settle lower, making room for the newly dead. That's how families stay together — in a desiccated jumble of grandpas, grandmas, siblings and cousins. Well, in one of the city's oldest cemeteries, the final resting place of a white, aristocratic New Orleans family is also the eternal home of black musical royalty: an emperor, a king, a consort and a mother-in-law. From Chitlin' Circuit To Pop Charts In 1961, Ernie K-Doe managed something that no one from New Orleans had ever done before — not Fats Domino, not Louis Prima, not even Louis Armstrong at that point. K-Doe scored a No. 1 pop hit with a song about his — and apparently a lot of other people's — mother-in-law:

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYT6RkTe26M In March, country music star Jason Aldean is playing Madison Square Garden. Tickets sold out in 10 minutes. Fans want to hear his latest No. 1 song, "Take a Little Ride." The song was written by by Rodney Clawson, Dylan Altman and Jim McCormick — who still chuckles when he hears it. McCormick says a No. 1 song is life-altering. "I've had all the other numbers, and this is a better number to have than the others," McCormick says. "Doors open. The phone rings. You're in a little club. You now have a sort of three-minute calling card: 'He's the guy that wrote that song.' " Before he became that guy, McCormick took one of the most unusual paths to country music since Kris Kristofferson finished his Rhodes scholarship and wound up a janitor at a Nashville studio. In 1990, McCormick graduated from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and went home to New Orleans to teach and write poems. The son of a merchant marine turned business owner and a

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    There are a lot of stories to tell about New Orleans. There are uplifting stories about new houses, new shops and gigantic drainage projects. There are melancholy stories about everything residents lost in Hurricane Katrina, about all that can never be recovered. There are stories about all that remains to be done, 10 years after the hurricane and the levee failures. And, throughout it all, there are love stories. Want to hear one? 'It Was Still Mardi Gras' Lakeya Taylor was walking along Orleans Avenue in downtown New Orleans during Mardi Gras in 2007, when she bumped into a handsome young man she'd seen around but had never quite met. Paul Mazant was walking along Orleans Avenue during Mardi Gras in 2007, when he ran into a fetching young woman he'd seen around but had never quite met. Mazant asked Taylor to lunch. Eight years later, we're sitting in her mother's living room in Gentilly, La., talking about marriage, their sweet children — and why Hurricane Katrina, and the worst

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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIz1cPfTRW4 Fats Domino, one of the architects of rock 'n' roll, died Tuesday at his daughter's suburban New Orleans home. Haydee Ellis, a family friend, confirmed the news to NPR. Mark Bone, chief investigator for the Jefferson Parish coroner's office, tells NPR that Domino, who was 89, died of natural causes. In the 1940s, Antoine Domino Jr. was working at a mattress factory in New Orleans and playing piano at night. Both his waistline and his fan base were expanding. That's when a bandleader began calling him "Fats." From there, it was a cakewalk to his first million-selling record — "The Fat Man." It was Domino's first release for Imperial Records, which signed him right off the bandstand. Producer, songwriter, arranger and bandleader Dave Bartholomew was there. He described the scene in a 1981 interview now housed at the Hogan Jazz Archive at Tulane University. "Fats was rocking the joint," Bartholomew said. "And he was sweating and playing, he'd