A Modern Remix of Marcus B. Christian “I Am New Orleans”

As a passionate admirer of New Orleans’ rich history and culture, I have always been drawn to the works of Marcus Christian, a renowned poet and author who beautifully captured the essence of our beloved city. New Orleans has a unique character that is hard to put into words, but Christian’s poem captures it perfectly. It’s a celebration of the diverse people, rich history, and vibrant energy that make New Orleans such a special place.

Christian’s poem, “I Love New Orleans,” holds a special place in my heart for its evocative depiction of the vibrant city we all adore. The rich culture of New Orleans is evident everywhere you go, from the music-filled streets of the French Quarter to the historic landmarks scattered throughout the city. I am captivated by the way Marcus Christian’s poetry paints a vivid picture of the city’s diverse population, its deep-rooted traditions, and its ever-evolving landscape. His words serve as a reminder of how the past, present, and future are interwoven in the fabric of this unique city.

Recently, I embarked on a personal journey to reimagine Marcus Christian’s timeless piece. I wanted to reflect the contemporary spirit of New Orleans while retaining the core essence of the original poem. Inspired, I sought to breathe new life into Christian’s work, showcasing the city’s evolution while staying true to its roots.

Through his words, Christian takes us on a journey through the streets of New Orleans, past the pioneers, aristocrats, slaves, and soldiers who have all walked these cobblestone paths. He reminds us of the hurricanes, storms, and crevasses that have ravaged this city, but also of its resilience and ability to rise from the ashes stronger than ever.

And it’s not just the past that Christian celebrates. He also acknowledges the present and the future, with his references to the “quickening of progress” and the “fantastic future years” ahead. New Orleans is a city that embraces both tradition and innovation, and Christian captures that spirit perfectly in his poem.

As I remade Christian’s poem in my own voice, I felt a deep connection to the city and its culture. Like him, I wanted to celebrate the unique character of New Orleans and all the people who make it such a special place. And while my words may be different from his, the spirit remains the same.

A black and white reproduction of a photograph of Louisiana writer, Marcus Christian.

So here’s to New Orleans, a city that will always have my heart. May we continue to celebrate its beauty, resilience, and spirit for generations to come.

I Am New Orleans: A Modern Remix
by Dat NOLA Chic

I am New Orleans,
Crown Jewel of the South,
As enchantin’ as a fairytale, a city that stands out.

I’m America’s heart,
A fusion of all things bright,
Latin, Nordic, , European, and American Indian, African

A symphony of life.

I sparked the dreams of John Law,
And fed his hunger for power,
With ambition, desire, and lust, in that defining hour.

I drew folks from far and wide,
From France’s darkest corners,
Gatherin’ dreamers and lost souls, in my new world order.

I am New Orleans,
A city that thrives on stories,
Of hope, despair, and glory, a home to all in search of peace.

From France to Africa, and all lands between,
I welcomed the weary, the lost, and the dreamers keen;
I’ve seen the struggles and the joy, the love and the pain,
In this city, we rise together, through sunshine and rain.

Through dark times and bright, I stand resilient,
Welcomin’ souls from all walks, in my heart, they’re brilliant;
From the Ursuline Sisters to the Jesuits who came,
I’ve seen the faith, the strength, and the love they all claim.

I am New Orleans,
A city of refuge, of hope, and of grace,
A place where all are welcome, no matter the race.

In this city, we stand strong, side by side,
United as one, with love, we’ll never hide;
For I am New Orleans, and forever I’ll be,
A beacon of hope, where dreams are set free.

I am New Orleans,
Over my paved streets and vibrant pathways,
Have walked the dreamers, the trailblazers, the humble and the brave,
The musicians, the artists, the free spirits, and the hard workers,
And all those who carry the legacy of many cultures combined.

From Louisiana’s swamps I rose,
From the Delta’s shifting sands,
From hurricanes, storms, and struggles,
From history’s dark days and the light of hope,
I’ve risen like a phoenix, time and time again.

I’ve seen so many flags fly over my land,
Been through countless changes and hands,
Yet, like a wise woman with many lovers,
I’ve learned to adapt, to grow, and to stand.

I’ve faced the battles and the storms,
Challenged by the winds of change and war,
But I am New Orleans, unafraid and strong,
United by the blend of cultures that create my soul’s song.

I’ve known many people,
Many voices,
Many tongues.
I’ve heard the echoes of the past,
As the city’s rhythm hums:
“Beautiful faces!”
“Delicious beignets, fresh and warm!”
“Pralines, pecans, a sweet treat to take!”
“Come get your fresh fruit, right here, don’t wait!”

In this city of harmony and life,
New Orleans stands proud, shining bright,
A symphony of cultures, dreams, and love,
Forever, I am New Orleans, a gift from above.

I am New Orleans,
Where folks gather ’round the table,
A scoop of red beans, a heap of rice,
And a piece of smoked sausage,
To make it all taste nice.
So, come on, Mr. Grocer,
Don’t forget that lagniappe, just right!

“Let the music play, let it all come out,
Feel the rhythm, the jazz, no doubt,
And if you still don’t get it,
No need to worry, my friend,
Just let the beats take over, and you’ll understand!”

I am New Orleans,
Where kids with full grocery carts
Follow their hardworking parents,
Laughing and teasing through aisles of treats,
“Don’t forget now, Momma said we need smoked meat for those beans!”
“Baby, your momma knows best,
We’ll get a pound ofsmoked meat that’ll make our dish the best!”

Many voices, many languages,
I’ve been praised and cursed in accents so diverse,
From the deep tones of Africa to the lilting notes of the Germans,
From the passionate syllables of the Italians,
To the elegant French and fiery Spanish words.

Proud Creoles have both loved and left me,
Seeking their destinies in foreign lands,
But they return, drawn back to my embrace,
No longer exiles, but lovers, hand in hand.

I’ve known hardships, changes, and trials,
But through it all, I’ve stood tall and thrived,
For I am New Orleans, forever alive,
A city of dreams, of love, and of life.

But when the whisper spread: “The Fever!”
“The Fever!”
Brave hearts trembled, left their loved ones, and fled.
COVID came and left me weakened,
Fires swept through, consuming all in their path;
Human passions did the same,
Yet, after everything,
I rise from the ashes,
More radiant than ever.

Wars have played their symphonies on my heartstrings,
Emotions of love, envy, anger, malice, hatred, and greed.
Iberville, Bienville, Perrier, de Vaudreuil, Galvez,
Andy Jackson, and Ben Butler.
Samba, the revolutionary Bambara king;
Bras Coupé, the one-armed outlaw with a bounty on his head:
The valiant stand of the Savarys in the Battle of New Orleans;
Marie Laveau, the misunderstood mystic,
Slandered and maligned by passing storytellers;
Mother Catherine, whose loyal followers still await her return;
And Brother Isaiah, who looked like Christ and healed the sick:
All these have I known.

Revolutionary hands have both raised and struck me down;
Men like Bloody O’Reilly have left their trails of blood,
But I, in turn,
Absorbed the blood of tyrant and downtrodden,
And each became a part of me.

Fierce battles have raged upon my very streets,
As men fought duels to the death,
Where later, children sang their songs and danced in play.

“Green grass grows, green grass grows, how lush the grass appears!
All around, all around, it’s the same throughout the years!
Miss Walker, Miss Walker, your true love is no more;
He sent you a letter, urging you to explore.”

“Here come two gentlemen, straight from afar,
Who came to court your daughter, under the shining stars;
Your daughter Jane, she’s still so young,
Too soon to be swayed by anyone.
Turn back, turn back, you confident man,
And choose the fairest one in the land . . .”
— “The fairest one that I can see
Is . . . Come, Loretta, and go with me. . . .”
“Loretta is gone, Loretta is gone, with a golden ring upon her hand;
Farewell, Loretta! Farewell, Loretta!
We’ll never see you again.”

Mary Mack,
Dressed in black,
Twenty-four buttons
All down her back.
She asked her mom
For fifteen cents
To see the elephant
Jump the fence.
Jump the fence,
He jumped so high,
Touching the sky;
Didn’t come back
Till the next July.

“Swallows, swallows fly
Around the yellow house,
And all the girls on Canal Street
Have fallen deep in love,
Except for Miss Louisa–
And who does she adore?–
She loves Albert, and Albert loves her.
With bells upon her fingers,
With bells upon her toes,
With a baby in her arms,
And that’s the way she goes.”

And all the girls on Canal Street are head-over-heels in love!
Listen to them sing!
Waiting on the levee,
Waiting for the steamboat coming ’round the bend;
Waiting for the Pargoud–
Waiting for the Natchez–
Waiting for the Robert E. Lee–
“I’ve got a man on the Pargoud;
I’ve got a man on the Lee;
I’ve got a man on the Natchez;
And he’s coming with money for me–
And he’s coming with money for me.”

Sing, O, my children, sing!
Sing of a day that long was,
And fondly remembered, still is,
But can never come back again!
Let one long lament ride the wayward winds
and spend itself on distant hills and valleys.
So come now, little children,
For you’ve had your day;
Come, sit down here with Grandpa,
It’s almost end of day.
Compair Lapin, Compair Bouki,
Won’t be with us tonight,
‘Cause we’re tired of old Brer Rabbit–
Now tell me, ain’t that right?
Told you all those bedtime tales,
So, on this night, I mean
To sing you all a nice little song
About the great New Orleans.
“In 1718 it was found
When Bienville sailed in safe and sound
With fifty men to clear the ground
E-eye-e-eye-O! (String it out with a long melody.)
E-eye-e-eye-o!” (Now a lightning-fast yodel.)
“He came ’bout the middle of February,
Just before the river could get contrary
And flood the land and the trembling prairie.”
“Now, the rich men’s wives were proud and cold
And they dressed in satin, silk, and gold
But the maidens fair were confident and bold.”
“Some were skinny and some were fat.
And they walked like this and they walked like that;
And they’d all kiss a man at the drop of a hat;”
“‘Twas back in 1781
When Galvez came with his big gun,
And captured every Englishman.”
Again they tried to take the town!
But Andy Jackson, he came down
And chased them in the river and made them drown!”
“So, lock up the cabin–throw out the greens–
Put on the calico and yellow jeans,
And let’s head down to New Orleans. . . .”

I am New Orleans,
A perpetual celebration,
Of wild spirits, jesters, royalty and dreamers,
Bourbon Street rebels, Baby Dolls, and Innovators;
Street vendors, florists, street performers,
Cleaners, and fortune-tellers,
And then, at the end, stories passed down
and memories soaring.
I am New Orleans—
A city that is a part of, and yet distinct from all
A blend of diverse environments;
A fusion of bloods, races, classes,
and colors;
Side-by-side, the New brushing shoulders with the Old;
Cheek-by-jowl, the Modern coexisting with the Classics.

Here, in the graceful curve of Old Man Mississippi,
Where the meandering father of the waters
Flows down to the gulf,
I sing my song:
I sing the song of the Siren, the Hedonist, the Sybarite;
Here, within this ever-green valley and under warm embracing skies
Where guitars strum softly deep in a moonlit night
And tender voices whisper of my beauty,
I sing of the latest chapters of my greatness;
Reveling in the pulse of progress within and around me.
I sing of the astounding expanses of far-reaching bridges
and overpasses;
I sing of gleaming cities of the sky rising from the Delta mud,
Touching the clouds of heaven
With visions of futuristic beauty and grace;
I sing of endless paths of asphalt streets and highways
Guiding us towards incredible future years;
I sing of the Past, the Present, and the boundless Future;
I sing of Love, Adventure, and Enchantment.

To read Marcus C. Christian original “I Am New Orleans” and many more of his poems.

Marilyn S. Hessler. “Marcus Christian: The Man and His Collection.” Louisiana History: The Journal of the Louisiana Historical Association, vol. 28, no. 1, 1987, pp. 37–55. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/4232560. Accessed 3 May 2023.



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