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Lighter Origins: Lakes of Pontchartrain (142* d) RE: Origins: Lakes of Pontchartrain 24 Apr 21


Peter, thanks for the link! Very nice show.

I feel, personally, that the song is more likely to have come from America than Ireland (more versions have been found here), and a connection to the New Orleans Irish is conceivable, of course, but without much support. Knowledge of "Jackson," however, whether in Mississippi or Louisiana, suggests some familiarity with the region. Or it could have been suggested by a book or map.

The tune of "The Lily of the West" was well known in the U.S. - and, I believe England as well.

FWIW - very little - the name "Devilbiss" is of German.

Just which meaning of Creole the author had in mind is up in the air. In the two earliest printed versions (above), her hair is "glowing" or "golden."

A sentimental song about interracial love in the American South (much less sex, as one radio guest suggested!) would have been remarkable indeed in the 19th century.

I agree with the guest that "alligators" is an exotic touch, but it really tells nothing about the song's origin.

And I also agree that "Pontchartrain" somewhat resembles "The Indian Lass," at least in outline. In that song, a sailor on a far distant shore is befriended by an (East) Indian girl, who invites him to her hut. He returns to his home but can't forget her.

But that's about all the resemblance there is.

Bottom line: mysteries unsolved.


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