New Orleans Set

The original Camellia Grill on Carrollton Ave. was the inspiration for my first New Orleans song.

The original Camellia Grill on Carrollton Ave. was the inspiration for my first New Orleans song.

Since this blog is called “Liner Notes,” occasionally I include liner notes from my own albums. The notes from New Orleans Set are found below but first, here’s how that CD came to be. In 2008, I wrote a song about Creole- and New Orleans-influenced food called Smile Upon Your Soul. It dawned on me that I had written songs about New Orleans periodically for twenty-five years. This was never by design but by the pure inspiration of a city that has always been seductive to me. New Orleans has spoken to writers, poets, musicians, artists and generations of people who do not use any of those terms to describe themselves. Like other lifelong friends, the city never changes and, yet, she constantly evolves at the same time.

So as I fine-tuned Smile Upon Your Soul, I decided to produce a CD with many of my

New Orleans Set

New Orleans Set

songs about the Crescent City and a couple of others for a little “lagniappe.” Carnival season is underway and Mardi Gras is around the corner so here are the liner notes to New Orleans Set.

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

New Orleans Set Liner Notes:

New Orleans is a source of inspiration for me as a songwriter and perspiration for me as a

The Maple Leaf Bar - a New Orleans music venue and hangout for poets.

The Maple Leaf Bar – a New Orleans music venue and hangout for poets.

human.  From the Maple Leaf Bar to the Monteleone Hotel; from the Garden District to the Marigny; from the Mississippi to Magazine and beyond, New Orleans and its people have welcomed me, cheered me up, shown me the blues and helped me pay some dues.

These songs have come from my lifelong love affair with the city and my friends there.

Growing up so close to New Orleans in Mississippi, I can’t remember when the city was not a part of my life.  These songs span a twenty-five year period, beginning with The Camellia Grill in 1983 right up to Smile Upon Your Soul, in 2008.

Shrimp po' boy at the original Acme Oyster House. Yeah, you' right it was good!

Shrimp po’ boy at the original Acme Oyster House. Yeah, you’ right it was good!

Another song well-worth mentioning is Pray for New Orleans.  Jim Sparks approached me with his great idea in 1999 and that’s when we wrote it, six years before Hurricane Katrina devastated the Mississippi Coast and flooded the Crescent City.  Everyone from that part of the country knew it was always a matter of when, not if, a storm like that would come.

Mackinac Blues and Tourist in a Rental Car are not about New Orleans but I always play them when I perform there.  Besides, New Orleans has its share of tourists in rental cars, too!

Thanks for listening and to the musicians who brought these tunes to life.  Catch you ‘round the Quarter,


Click here to listen to song samples from New Orleans Set on I-Tunes. For video of Les performing at the Louisiana Music Factory in the French Quarter, click here.

Text and photos copyright 2013 Les Kerr.


About Les Kerr

Les Kerr is a songwriter, recording artist, journalist and author originally from the Gulf Coast now based in Nashville, Tennessee. Learn More about Les at
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3 Responses to New Orleans Set

  1. Kat Kennedy says:

    Thanks for the Mardi Gras post, Les! We here in Mobile are in the throes and throws! Loved the New Orleans Set esp. Mardi Gras Song and the shout out to Mobile! Keep up the good vibes. Let me know if you are playing in any of our great venues! Would love to say hello! And as always – Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

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