Category Archives: New Orleans

From the Ponderosa Stomp Oral History Project: Joe Clay


“That hillbilly music was so slow. It was music that was putting me to sleep. I had no clue what rockabilly was. It was just something that I felt, so that’s what I did.” – C.J. Cheramie, a.k.a. Joe Clay

Dr. Ike and I visited rockabilly wild man Joe Clay, a Rockabilly Hall of Famer and Ponderosa Stomp regular, at his home on New Orleans’ West Bank in the spring of 2007. In the hour-long interview below, listen to him discuss his anticlimactic pre-Elvis turn on the Ed Sullivan show, how he changed his name, and why Marrero’s Gay Paree nightclub was the hot spot for the New Orleans country and rockabilly scene in the 50’s.

Listen to the Joe Clay Oral History Interview

Scene Report: The RBT Band at Mo’s Chalet in Metairie

Metairie is a place often disparaged by those “not from here.” It is especially disparaged by those not from here who seek to cloak themselves and where they came from in all things New Orleans. By disparaging our hinterlands, they strive to make themselves all the more genuinely New Orleans. Ironically, these self-appointed New Orleans … Continue reading Scene Report: The RBT Band at Mo’s Chalet in Metairie

PS Time Machine: September 14, 1955

“A wop bop a loo mop, a good goddam!” Fifty-four years ago today, per Bumps Blackwell’s recommendation, Little Richard Penniman (seen above with Jet Harris, Gene Vincent and Sam Cooke) joined forces with Fats Domino’s band — which included the late Earl Palmer, drummer extraordinaire who performed at the 1st annual Ponderosa Stomp and served … Continue reading PS Time Machine: September 14, 1955

Scene Report: Midnight Streetcar in Chalmette

The scene: An historic crossroads in Chalmette, where St. Bernard Highway meets Paris Road, under the unearthly, Mordor-like glow of the Chalmette Refinery, in a parish where so many ghosts still tiptoe on the fringes of our consciousness: French land barons. West African slaves. Canary Island fishermen. Creole dandies. Kaintuck riflemen. Bloodied British invaders. Sicilian … Continue reading Scene Report: Midnight Streetcar in Chalmette