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Question about Lakes of Pontchartrain song

DigiTrad:
ADALIDA
CHARLIE RUTLEDGE
LAKES OF PONCHARTRAIN
LAKES OF PONCHARTRAIN 2
LAKES OF THE PONCHARTRAIN (4)
THE LAKES OF PONTCHARTRAIN 3


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: Lakes of Pontchartrain (114)
Lakes of Ponchartrain on banjo (11)
Lyr Req: The Man That Shot the Dog (Mick Quinn) (22)
Chords Req: The Lakes of Ponchartrain (65)
Spelling of 'Pontchartrain' ? (16)
Lyr Req: Lakes of Ponchetrain? / Ponchartrain (47)
Lyr/Chords Req: Lakes Of Ponchartrain (Deanta) (13)
Lyr Req: Lakes of Pontchartrain - Irish Words (77)
Lyr Req: On the Banks of Lake Pontchartrain (13)
Lakes of Ponchartrain through Irish lang (7)
Lyr Req: Lakes of Ponchartrain (from Sam Henry) (16)
Origins: Lakes of Ponchartrain (2) (closed)
Lakes of Ponchartrain (20)
Banks of Ponchatran...how old? (17)
Recording Req: Lakes of Ponchartrain (17)
Inf. Lakes of Ponchatrain? / Ponchartrain (4) (closed)


breezy 15 May 12 - 02:58 PM
Jeri 15 May 12 - 03:25 PM
Uncle Phil 16 May 12 - 12:26 AM
MGM·Lion 16 May 12 - 01:19 AM
GUEST,999 16 May 12 - 01:56 AM
MGM·Lion 16 May 12 - 04:40 AM
GUEST,leeneia 16 May 12 - 08:59 AM
Les from Hull 16 May 12 - 09:17 AM
GUEST,leeneia 16 May 12 - 10:48 AM
Uncle Phil 16 May 12 - 12:51 PM
Uncle Phil 16 May 12 - 12:53 PM
GUEST,Lighter 16 May 12 - 12:58 PM
GUEST,Tootler 16 May 12 - 01:08 PM
MartinRyan 16 May 12 - 01:24 PM
breezy 16 May 12 - 02:41 PM
GUEST,leeneia 16 May 12 - 03:20 PM
breezy 16 May 12 - 03:39 PM
GUEST,leeneia 16 May 12 - 06:01 PM
BobKnight 16 May 12 - 08:23 PM
Trevor Thomas 17 May 12 - 08:32 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 17 May 12 - 04:13 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 17 May 12 - 04:26 PM
PoppaGator 17 May 12 - 04:38 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 17 May 12 - 05:26 PM
GUEST,hg 18 May 12 - 01:06 AM
greg stephens 18 May 12 - 05:50 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 18 May 12 - 01:25 PM
Jim Carroll 18 May 12 - 01:39 PM
Jim Carroll 18 May 12 - 01:45 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 18 May 12 - 02:01 PM
Desert Dancer 18 May 12 - 02:41 PM
The Sandman 18 May 12 - 02:45 PM
GUEST 18 May 12 - 02:55 PM
breezy 18 May 12 - 03:47 PM
The Sandman 18 May 12 - 04:38 PM
PoppaGator 18 May 12 - 04:56 PM
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Subject: ? Pontchartrain to Jackson ?
From: breezy
Date: 15 May 12 - 02:58 PM

Or not

Is it me ? - yes - or is anyone else confused by the story in verses one and two ?

He says goodbye to New Orleans , and heads for Jackson - state cap -, but somehow he doesnt leave the Lakes

so

If he rode the rods to Jackson , how come he met a Creole gal by the lakes of Pontchartrain if it was from there he had supposedly left?

did he fall asleep, ride back again believing himself to be in Jackson ? After all he did ride from sunrise to sunset and if aint all that far even for March there would have been enough daylight hours.

or did he not really leave but imagined he had.?

he was longing for where he already was or was he not there to start with ?

Sort me out.

great song regardless , just a tad confusing thats all


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Subject: RE: Question about Lakes of Pontchartrain song
From: Jeri
Date: 15 May 12 - 03:25 PM

Twas on one bright March morning, I bid New Orleans adieu
And I took the road to Jackson town, my fortune to renew
I cursed all foreign money, no credit could I gain
Which filled my heart with longing for the lakes of Pontchartrain

I stepped on board of a railroad car beneath the morning sun
I rode the rods till evening and I laid me down again
All strangers, they're no friends to me, till a dark girl towards me came
I fell in love with a creole girl by the lakes of Pontchartrain


He went to Jackson, missed Pontchartrain, to train back.
(From this version in the DT.
Spelling of "Pontchartrain" fixed to diminish the chances of propagation.)


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Subject: RE: Question about Lakes of Pontchartrain song
From: Uncle Phil
Date: 16 May 12 - 12:26 AM

I love this song, but the songwriter didn't know much about my old Louisiana home. There is no such thing as the lakes of Ponchartrain. There is just one body of water called Lake Ponchartrain which is actually a 630 square mile salt water estuary of the Gulf of Mexico. Nor are there alligators in the woods; they live in the swamps. A great song, though, so I don't sweat the details
- Phil

Just a thought, but the songwriter might have looked at a map and sent our hero to Jackson, Lousiana (on a very slow train) rather than Jackson, Mississippi.


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Subject: RE: Question about Lakes of Pontchartrain song
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 16 May 12 - 01:19 AM

Whichever ~~ surely the point is that he spent some time in Jackson [whichever one], having bid his hometown of Nawlins adieu; but did not succeed ['renew his fortune'] as hoped in new venue - could 'gain no credit' there - so grew homesick for his own city, emblemised by its distinctive lake, and made his way back there by 'riding the rods'; but found he knew no-one in that particular neck of the woods [or part of the lakeside] where he had landed up, till he met the obliging Creole girl. This scenario seems to me to fit the narrative.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Question about Lakes of Pontchartrain song
From: GUEST,999
Date: 16 May 12 - 01:56 AM

Gives new meaning to 'I have a belly ache'.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia

Lake Borgne is a lagoon in eastern Louisiana of the Gulf of Mexico. Due to coastal erosion, it is no longer actually a lake but rather an arm of the Gulf of Mexico. Its name comes from the French word borgne, which means "one-eyed".

Geography

The three large lakes, Maurepas, Pontchartrain, and Borgne cover 55% of the Pontchartrain Basin. Lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain are separated by land bridges of cypress swamp and fresh/intermediate marsh. A brackish marsh land bridge and Lake St. Catherine separate Lake Pontchartrain from Lake Borgne. The Rigolets and Chef Menteur Pass are the two open water connections between Pontchartrain and Borgne.

Due to coastal erosion Borgne is now a lagoon connecting to the Gulf of Mexico, but early 18th century maps show it as a lake largely separated from the Gulf by a considerable extent of wetlands which have since disappeared.

The basin contains 483,390 acres (1956 km²) of wetlands, consisting of nearly 38,500 acres (156 km²) of fresh marsh, 28,600 acres (116 km²) of intermediate marsh, 116,800 acres (473 km²) of brackish marsh, 83,900 acres (340 km²) of saline marsh, and 215,600 acres (873 km²) of cypress swamp. Since 1932, more than 66,000 acres (267 km²) of marsh have converted to water in the Pontchartrain Basin — over 22% of the marsh that existed in 1932.

Source

Description above from the Wikipedia article Lake Borgne, licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here. Community Pages are not affiliated with, or endorsed by, anyone associated with the topic.


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Subject: RE: Question about Lakes of Pontchartrain song
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 16 May 12 - 04:40 AM

One thing that does exercise me is the reference to the 'foreign money' which he cursed because he could not succeed with it in Jackson, and his telling the Creole girl on first meeting that the money he had brought back with him was "no good" ~~ not, note, that he had none, but that what he had would not pass. Is it at all possible that Louisiana was still using French currency, rather then $US, at the time? If so, presumably this would date the story [and the song?] to some time before the Purchase of 1803. If not, what do these puzzling details mean?

~M~


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Subject: RE: Question about Lakes of Pontchartrain song
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 16 May 12 - 08:59 AM

I see by my atlas that present-day Interstates 55, 59 and 10 all hug the shores of Lake Pontchartrain. What does this tell us? That the ground there is probably the best for building, and that the shores of the lake are an important trade route.

No doubt the same applies to railroads, both past and present.


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Subject: RE: Question about Lakes of Pontchartrain song
From: Les from Hull
Date: 16 May 12 - 09:17 AM

Not a lot of railways in 1803


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Subject: RE: Question about Lakes of Pontchartrain song
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 16 May 12 - 10:48 AM

Les, I'm sure you are aware that folk songs grow and change with time.


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Subject: RE: Question about Lakes of Pontchartrain song
From: Uncle Phil
Date: 16 May 12 - 12:51 PM

The first railroad in New Orleans was built in 1830. It ran between the City of New Orleans (located where the French Quarter is today) and Lake Pontchartrain. Freight and passengers could be routed through Lake Pontchartrain so ships didn't have to make the difficult up the Mississippi River. The route of the railroad is on your map; it is Elysian Fields Blvd in modern New Orleans. In 1838 a canal, built largely Irish immigrants, and ship basin were built to connect New Orleans to Lake Pontchartrain. Look for Canal Street and Basin Street on your map. The first railroad connecting New Orleans to the north and east was built in 1851 and the first railroad to the north and west was built in 1853.

Big sections of the interstate highways serving New Orleans are built on raised causeways and bridges.
- Phil


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Subject: RE: Question about Lakes of Pontchartrain song
From: Uncle Phil
Date: 16 May 12 - 12:53 PM

make that "the difficult passage up the Mississippi River"


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Subject: RE: Question about Lakes of Pontchartrain song
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 16 May 12 - 12:58 PM

Maybe he means Confederate money. "Foreign" scans a lot better.


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Subject: RE: Question about Lakes of Pontchartrain song
From: GUEST,Tootler
Date: 16 May 12 - 01:08 PM

It's a song. Songwriters are like artists. They take liberties with history & geography for the sake of the story.


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Subject: RE: Question about Lakes of Pontchartrain song
From: MartinRyan
Date: 16 May 12 - 01:24 PM

Songwriters are like artists. They take liberties with history & geography for the sake of the story.

... and that's before the folk process gets to work!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Question about Lakes of Pontchartrain song
From: breezy
Date: 16 May 12 - 02:41 PM

sod the money angle.

back to the plot i.e. the thread

So he went to Jackson, yes ?

but didnt stay because
he longed to be back at the banks - I said 'sod the money' - of the lake of Pontchartrain and


collectively all 3 lakes are known as the 'Lakes' - plural - of Pontetc , would you agree ?

thanks for that , its obvious really ,


Now you can try and explain the 'money angle ', with dates please


BTW surely swamps will contain vegetation and trees and would be a highly suitable environment for alligators to inhabit


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Subject: RE: Question about Lakes of Pontchartrain song
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 16 May 12 - 03:20 PM

Here's a version I learned from a band called The Waffles in Kansas City. Set in the olden days, when money of all kinds circulated in the U.S., and taverns had hearths ("flaming circles"). No trains.
=============
One time I got in trouble, as I've been prone to do.
Set out down the river, had to bid this town adieu.
Through the swamps and the alligators, I wandered in the cane,
till I met a creole girl on the shores of Pontchartrain.

My body was shiv'rin as I pounded on her door.
Rain was runnin down my neck and fell upon her floor.
"I beg your pardon, my fair lady, but my money is no good.
If it weren't for the alligators, I would sleep out in the wood."

She took me to her mother's house, and they treated me right well.
The raven hair in ringlets all around her shoulders fell.
And if I tried to paint that beauty, I know it would be in vain,
for I became enchanted by the girl from Pontchartrain.

By the bayou that did slowly run there outside of her door
I would sit and watch her work for many an hour or more.
[I am not making this up - leeneia]
And the echo of that strange land did rustle in the breeze,
and the spell on me grew deeper underneath the cypress trees.

One time I called her over and set her on my knee.
I begged for her to marry me, but she said, "This cannot be."
She said, "I have a true love, and true I must remain,
till the day that he returns to me in Pontchartain."

So it's good-bye, my fair lady. I'll not see you no more.
But I swear I'll not forget the kindness at your door.
And around each flaming circle, a glass to you I'll drain.
Here's to you, my creole girl on the shores of Pontchartrain.


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Subject: RE: Question about Lakes of Pontchartrain song
From: breezy
Date: 16 May 12 - 03:39 PM

thats a great version and not just because it mentions my name

thanks for posting it

Is the tune that you know anything like the common tune for the L of P as sung by P Brady?

just asking


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Subject: RE: Question about Lakes of Pontchartrain song
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 16 May 12 - 06:01 PM

I don't know, but I do know it is more restrained than the tune in the DT.

I'm glad you like the words. I do, too.


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Subject: RE: Question about Lakes of Pontchartrain song
From: BobKnight
Date: 16 May 12 - 08:23 PM

I prefer, "All strangers there, no friends to me," meaning he knew nobody and therefore had no friends there.


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Subject: RE: Question about Lakes of Pontchartrain song
From: Trevor Thomas
Date: 17 May 12 - 08:32 AM

Here's my interpretation...

The song is written from the point of view of a mercenary soldier, (possibly Irish but I perhaps only think this because of Paul Brady) but certainly non native to the US who was on the losing side in the American Civil War.

The line 'my money here's no good' leads me to believe he has been paid in Confederate dollars, which have become worthless. The line where he can gain no credit so curses 'all foreign money' leads me to believe he's not a US national, so to him Confederate dollars and Yankee dollars are all 'foreign money'.

Not being native to the area would also explain him worrying about the alligators in the wood. He is either mistaken about the 'gators or does not know the difference between a wood and a swamp.


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Subject: RE: Question about Lakes of Pontchartrain song
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 17 May 12 - 04:13 PM

No one has posted the first printed version, The Creole Girl, in L. Pound, 1922, ABS, 55, pp. 127-128. Nor has the early Lake of Ponchartrain been posted (Gardner/Chickering, see Traditional Ballad Index).
Why speculate about the wording of one late version and try to apply that to the whole spectrum of the song?

The song was first in print in 1922; have earlier versions been found?
Is the song an old one handed down, or the late invention of some unknown writer?

[Idle comments on the version in the Flanders volume (DT)]
Does the singer use 'wood' to mean what is often called 'bush' ?.
Foreign money- what time period is supposed to be represented in the song? Louisiana Terr. used a mixture of money, even into the 19th C., U. S., French, Talers, etc. There is nothing to suggest Civil War times.
All hard currencies accepted, but even U.S. paper suspect? A common attitude at times.   
No clue is offered to the identity of the wanderer except that he might be a wandering artist.


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Subject: RE: Question about Lakes of Pontchartrain song
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 17 May 12 - 04:26 PM

The version in Sam Henry supposedly dates from 1905, it may be a UK rewrite (or is the song originally from the UK?).
We don't know what definition of 'Creole' was in the mind of the composer (discussed at length in one of the linked threads).


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Subject: RE: Question about Lakes of Pontchartrain song
From: PoppaGator
Date: 17 May 12 - 04:38 PM

My theory has always been that the song was "written by," or (perhaps more likely) based upon letters sent home to Ireland by, one of the many Irish immigrants who came to New Orleans in the 1830s to work on the construction of the New Basin Canal, which ran from the shore of Lake Pontchartrain south into the heart of the city, to a turning basin near the current-day site of Union Passenger Terminal. This route includes a section of today's Interstate highway 10.

This year is the 175th anniversry if the completion of that Canal, and was commemmorated by the Irish Channel St Patrick's Day Marching Club earlier this year, because the construction of the canal is so central to the history of Irish people in New Orleans.

The work of digging the canal was perilous because of the near-certainty of contracting "yellow fever" (malaria) in the swampy environment. The Irish immigrants who made up most of the workforce died in great numbers: in fact, mathematically, an individual actually stood a better chance of survival back home in famine-struck rural Ireland than working on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain.

Immigrants were hired for the work largely because of the risk of disease ~ local slaveowners refused to put their human property at risk by loaning slaves out to the canal project. Local working-class folks, of course, were also understandably reluctant to hire on.

In latter years, we have learned that native Louisianans, whether black or white, slave or free, could have done the work safely enough due to immunity; anyone who had survived childhood in this area was ipso facto safe from the most serious effects of mosquito bites. Conversely, ALL the European immigrants working on the project (mostly, but not exclusively, Irish) were quite vulnerable to deadly disease.

New Orleans was the #1 port of embarkation for immigrants from Ireland for several years in the 1830s-40s, the time of the first Great Potato Famine, largely because of the promise of work on the New Basin Canal. Because the deadly effects of Yellow Fever became so well known to the folks left behind, subsequent immigration from Ireland to the US avoided New Orleans "like the plague" (literally!), and concentrated almost exclusively on other US ports, mostly in the northeast (New York, Boston, Philadelphia, etc.)

If this theory is true, the "foreign money" would NOT have been Confederate ~ the canal-building project predated the Civil War by 10-15 years. Still in all: back in the 1830s, there was NOT a uniform monetary system in the US ~ banknotes (paper money) were issued by individual banks, and it may have been difficult to negotiate bills from a New Orleans bank in Mississippi (or even in Jackson, Louisiana).

New Orleans was nominally "American" in those days not long after the Louisiana Purchase, but it was still culturally French and Spanish, and multi-lingual; the ten-dollar bills issued by some local banks bore the French word "DIX" for ten ~ many surmise that this is the origin of the terms "Dixie"/"Dixieland." It makes sense that English-speaking Mississippians might consider such currency to be "foreign."

Swamps hereabouts are generally fairly densely wooded, mostly with cypress trees. It is not unreasonable that anyone, local or immigrant, might refer to gator habitat as "the woods."


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Subject: RE: Question about Lakes of Pontchartrain song
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 17 May 12 - 05:26 PM

Poppagator's response is as valid as any, and contains useful information on money and construction of the canals, as well as the 'woods', which were gator habitat.

Like many 'Folk Songs', only the person who put together his version, can explain his alluions.


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Subject: RE: Question about Lakes of Pontchartrain song
From: GUEST,hg
Date: 18 May 12 - 01:06 AM

gators definitely crawl through the woods during mating season. I wouldn't sleep out in the cypress woods during alligator mating season....


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Subject: RE: Question about Lakes of Pontchartrain song
From: greg stephens
Date: 18 May 12 - 05:50 AM

Poppagator suggests that this song was written in Ireland, based on letters sent home by Irish worker(s) on the canal in Louisiana. Well, it's a theory, but is there any actual evidence placing this song in Ireland at the relevant time? General anecdotes suggest the song's recent connection with Ireland came about because Christie Moore learned it from the Yorkshireman Mike Waterson, and via Planxty and Paul Brady etc it became extremely widely known. Can we actually place this version(or anything like it) in Ireland say pre-1900? Or even pre-1960?
Also, I am curious Poppagator's equating yellow fever with malaria. They are certainly quite different diseases in British usage, but perhaps the American habit is different?


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Subject: RE: Question about Lakes of Pontchartrain song
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 May 12 - 01:25 PM

The Irish reference in Sam Henry is c. 1905 (see above) and the name of the source is given. Most (if not all) of the articles collected in the book are pre-1940.
I know nothing further about the origin.
Not found in the older N. Am. references that I have.
I have ordered Pound's book (a cheapie at dealers) which has the oldest Am. reference (see previous post, 1922).


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Subject: RE: Question about Lakes of Pontchartrain song
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 May 12 - 01:39 PM

"....Or even pre-1960?"
Mike Waterson almost certainly learned from the BBC recording of Paddy McCluskey made in Antrim in 1953 (collector's note below) - McCluskey was also credited with giving the song to Sam Henry.
Jim Carroll

LAKES OF PONCETRIN, The        
Singer: Paddy McCluskey                                 2.45    20031
Clough Mills,
Co. Antrim.
5.8.53 (P.K - S.O'B)
'Through swamps and alligators ....'   
(10 verses)
Song describes how amid the dangers of the alligators a handsome Creole girl offers accommodation and faithfully refuses an offer of marriage. The man leaves, saying he will remember her kindness and drink a toast to her on every social occasion.
See Sam Henry Collection, 619 for this version noted from the same singer, where the title is given as 'The Lakes of Ponchartrain' (probably more correct), with a note that these lakes are five miles north of New Orleans.


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Subject: RE: Question about Lakes of Pontchartrain song
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 May 12 - 01:45 PM

Sorry, meant to include this information
Jim Carroll

McCLUSKEY, Paddy
Singer and fiddle player. Clough Mills, Co. Antrim. 5.8.53
Aged 73. Lives alone in a one-room' cottage at Lislarin. He was born at Loughgiel, learnt to play the fiddle from his father and used to play at local dances with another fiddler, neighbour John McAfee. Worked in Scotland in early life, returned to Ireland in 1915, and worked there at thatching, pig-killing, etc. until the age of sixty.
One of his songs: 'Cruel Ship's Carpenter' is printed in JEFDSS 1956)
Section 1.
Annie-o: 20031; Apprentice boy: 20032; Cave Hill side: 20033; Cruel ship's carpenter (1): 20032; Henry Connor: 20033; Lakes of Poncetrin: 20031; Maid on shore (l): 20033; Old dun cow: 20032; Trees they do grow high (5): 20031; Trip over the mountain (3): 20033; William and Mary: 20031.


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Subject: RE: Question about Lakes of Pontchartrain song
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 May 12 - 02:01 PM

Correction- song learned in America.

Quoting from Sam Henry, Songs of the People -

"Source: Paddy M'Closkey (Carnamenagh, Corkey Co,, Antrim), learned from Frank M'Allister (Carnagall, Corkey Co., Antrim) c. 1905, learned when a woodsman in America."
(Published 12 Oct. 1935; Laws H9)

(Columns 1923-1939)


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Subject: RE: Question about Lakes of Pontchartrain song
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 18 May 12 - 02:41 PM

Please note the existance of a prior thread, Origins: Lakes of Ponchartrain, as linked at the top. Also the four versions in the DT, none of which is precisely the currently popular version via Brady-Waterson-McCloskey (which I also learned via the American group, Trapezoid).

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Question about Lakes of Pontchartrain song
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 May 12 - 02:45 PM

there is only one lake, it should be lake of, NOT Lakes of Ponchartrain


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Subject: RE: Question about Lakes of Pontchartrain song
From: GUEST
Date: 18 May 12 - 02:55 PM

Greg - I think that malaria and yellow fever were quite similar diseases caught in similar circumstances. We know they are different dieases now because we're better at diagnosis. Of course, nobody knew in those days that it was those pesky mosquitos that were behind it all. The term malaria just means 'bad air', the kind you get near fetid swamps. Yellow fever was known as vomito negro or the black spit and that was the main difference in symptoms. Both diseases may be known locally as 'swamp fever'. All people knew was that swamps were not healthy places. In 1809 'Walcheren fever' (probably malaria and typhus with a bit of dysentry and typhoid thrown in) killed 4000 men and put many more on the sick list for months. So be careful with all that swamp music you play!


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Subject: RE: Question about Lakes of Pontchartrain song
From: breezy
Date: 18 May 12 - 03:47 PM

is it possible the 3 lakes are collectively known locally as
'The Lakes ' ?

Meanwhile back to the original thread question

he went to Jackson by road , but, disillusioned he soon stepped aboard a railroad car and rode back to the lakes.

have I got it ?


Yea and and while I'm here

'woods' is a convenient generic term and rhymes with 'good'
Swamp maybe the more correct term but it dont rhyme with 'good'
Even if his money happened to be 'damp'it would still sound odd !

Like some other catters.

bazinga !


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Subject: RE: Question about Lakes of Pontchartrain song
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 May 12 - 04:38 PM

Lake Pontchartrain (play /ˈpɒntʃətreɪn/; French: Lac Pontchartrain, French: [lak pɔ̃ʃaʁtʁɛ̃] ( listen)) is a brackish estuary located in southeastern Louisiana. As an estuary, Pontchartrain is not a true lake. It is, however, part of one the largest wetlands in North America, and the world[1].

It covers an area of 630 square miles (1,600 km2) with an average depth of 12 to 14 feet (3.7 to 4.3 m). Some shipping channels are kept deeper through dredging. It is roughly oval in shape, about 40 miles (64 km) from west to east and 24 miles (39 km) from south to north. In descending order of area, the lake is located in parts of St. Tammany, Orleans, Jefferson, St. John the Baptist, St. Charles, and Tangipahoa parishes.
it is one lake not 3 lakes.


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Subject: RE: Question about Lakes of Pontchartrain song
From: PoppaGator
Date: 18 May 12 - 04:56 PM

(1) Equating "Yellow Fever" with malaria: I was relying on my notoriously porous memory and may have used the wrong scientific/medical term for the old colloquial disease-name. My father contracted a disease in the South Pacific during WWII colloquially known even at that late date as "yellow fever"; I thought it was technically known as malaria but may not be remembering accurately. It was definitely a liver ailment which was treatable with penicillin but from which he never fully recovered.

(2) "Lake(s)," singular or plural: Current day usage says there is one and only one Lake Pontchartrain, but there are three adjacent lakes which could easily be considered a single "system" or whatever.

(3) As far as the song's "Irishness" is concerned, I've just taken that as a given. Have I been wrong about that? In any event, the only important event in the history of the Irish in New Orleans (that is, anywhere near Lake Pontchartrain) is the digging of the New Basin Canal and the attendant loss of many many lives ~ so many, in fact, that Irish immigration to the area came to an immediate halt. Irish-American people in New Orleans fall into two categories: (a) descendants of Irish who immigrated to this area 175 years ago and who generally intermarried/interbred with folks of other nationalities, mostly other Catholic/immigrant groups like Germans, Italians, French, etc., and (b) people like me who moved to N.O. from other parts of the US where most Irish immigrants had settled in the years since the 1830s.


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Mudcat time: 16 July 5:19 AM EDT

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