I guess if one were looking for a single symbol of Southwest Louisiana, Community Coffee would do as well as any. Even people who don’t drink it routinely see the logo and coffee dispensers. There’d be few SWLAans indeed who hadn’t picked up a free cup at some event or public gathering place.
A recent 17-second Community Coffee commercial apparently has people all over South Louisiana asking, “what’s the song that’s playing in the commercial?”
Fortunately, I didn’t have to do much research on this. Someone else did it for me. My wife Nydia, who is usually annoyed by commercials, said she was “intrigued by the haunting melody” in this one. After spending some time on the Google, she told me the song in question was “Mon Esprit” by the New Orleans ensemble Sweet Crude.
The song was probably chosen for the commercial because it has a distinctly South Louisiana sound in its soaring melodies; also, it’s entirely accessible.
Many Community Coffee drinkers will realize that the lyrics are in French (as are the lyrics of many songs by Sweet Crude, which is actively working to promote the use of French). The lyrical nature of the music masks the fact that some of the lyrics are mysterious and gothic. Take these lines:
Écoutez le son
des ‘tits chaouis
apres jouer en dehors
rougarou et zombi.
I’m going to say that means something like:
Listen to the sound
of the little raccoons
with the werewolf and zombie.
I find what comes next even stranger:
On l’a fait pour les enfants.
On l’a fait pour etre contents.
We did it for the children.
We did it to be happy.
Who did what for what children? Sounds a little ominous. One thing we know: Sweet Crude is writing lyrics about stuff a whole lot deeper than “I love Susie and she loves me. It’s as great as it can be.”
The black and white video for the song is appropriately eerie. As a woman in black does an interpretive dance, a number of well-dressed and coifed women carry a casket through a long, church-like building. After this procession, the casket is laid at the foot of the building’s front steps, where a child stands on top of it.
You don’t need to let any of this esoteric imagery interfere with your enjoyment of the Community Coffee commercial. Sweet Crude’s music is not sad; it may be a little wistful at times, but it’s invariably upbeat.
Perhaps its most distinctive characteristic is the degree to which it’s dominated by percussion. Much of this percussion is made up of a fast, rhythmic striking of one drumstick with another. In one video I saw, an ensemble of seven or eight included three drummers. Sweet Crude calls this sound “drum pop Louisianais.” It’s an exuberant mix of Creole with contemporary folk and jazz and symphonic rock.
Sweet Crude is getting known throughout North America. They just finished playing at the Philadelphia Museum of art; they’ll play at the N.O. Jazz Fest on April 29; and they’ll travel to Canada for the Ottawa Bluesfest on July 5.
If you want to hear more than 17 seconds of “Mon Esprit” and see the stylish video too, go to sweetcrudeband.com and click the Video button at the top of the page. Your cue will come right up.
Is This The Worst Column In America?
After Louisiana was ranked the worst state in America by U.S. News & World Report, KPLC-TV ran a story with the headline “Locals don’t believe Louisiana deserved to be ranked worst state in America.”
In coming issues, I’ll be doing my own story on this topic. I plan to use the headline “I find the locals who don’t believe Louisiana deserved to be ranked worst state in America.”
And look for my forthcoming story with the headline “Man on the street stories just as boring and uninformative as ever.”
The Best Of The Brightest
Apparently it’s a thing now to do something called a “gender reveal.” Here’s how it works. You gather a couple of dozen sophisticates and use a “cute” way to reveal to them the gender of your soon-to-be-born baby.
An especially clever couple in Ponchatoula just used a huge adult alligator and a watermelon to reveal their future child’s gender to their elite inner circle. Baton Rouge station WBRZ posted the video of the event.
I’m not sure who the pregnant woman standing 10 feet from the alligator is, but I’m guessing the man who keeps trying to put the watermelon in the gator’s mouth — Mike Kliebert — is the father.
As country radio plays in the background, a baby — who, for some reason, is afraid of the alligator — cries. A female adult comforts the baby, saying, “It’s OK. It’s OK.” One hears a female adult shout out, “Let’s get this party goin’!”
When Kliebert finally gets the alligator to bite down on the watermelon, a bunch of blue Jello shoots out. The baby will be a boy.
As the camera pulls back, one sees that a boy — maybe 12 years old — has fallen on his back within 10 feet of the gator. The creature starts walking toward the boy. Someone in the crowd comments, “Oh, he’s on the run.” The gator gets within six feet of the helpless youth when Kliebert applies his massive bulk to the reptile’s snout. That’s probably as good a way as any to keep it from biting one of the boy’s legs off.
It’s just another day in paradise.
Kliebert works as a tour guide for Kliebert’s Swamp in Hammond, which promotes itself as being “the self-proclaimed home of the original swamp people” (whatever that means).
If you don’t believe that all this happened just as I say it did, take a little cyber trip over to KBRZ’s site and watch the video (“WATCH: Couple uses massive gator to reveal baby’s gender”).
A Law To Bark About
Louisiana’s U.S. Sen. John Kennedy has just had what is by far his biggest accomplishment yet in D.C. He recently filed legislation titled Welfare of Our Furry Friends Act. In case you didn’t notice, the acronym for that act is WOOFF.
Kennedy was reacting to the fact that in the last year, 18 pet animals have died during United Airlines flights. Kennedy told a congressional task force, “United Airlines is promising to put special tags on pet carriers to help flight attendants in the future. I’d rather make it the law that animals aren’t to be treated like an old piece of luggage.” In particular, Kennedy’s bill would make it illegal for a pet to be placed in an overhead bin on an airplane.
The Life Of A Reporter
On March 21, David Allen, a columnist for the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., posted this Tweet: “The life of a reporter, in one paragraph.” Under the Tweet appeared a photo of a paragraph in a newspaper story that had been circled. The paragraph read:
“In a brief phone conversation, Cohen said questions should be submitted by email. He did not respond to an email.”
Is something happening that might cause people to get off Facebook? OMG! I just don’t think I could stand that. I mean, I don’t go on the thing myself. But I fully understand that Facebook is a social network that’s right on the pulse of the intellectual and cultural discourse that drives American and international folkways and dialogues and emojis and stuff. It sure would be a shame if anything bad happened to it.
On the bright side, if something should happen to Facebook, we’ll still have smartphones, flatscreen TVs, Candy Crush Soda Saga and Judge Judy.