Mudcat Café message #2444014 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #88125   Message #2444014
Posted By: Azizi
18-Sep-08 - 10:28 AM
Thread Name: Iko Iko
Subject: RE: Iko Iko
Mudcat readers may be interested in this comment I recently received via my website. The comment is about place names mentioned in "Iko Iko":

"Regarding the lyrics to "Iko Iko," specifically Dr. John's 1972 recording: I'm not sure whether anyone has yet pointed out that the phrase referred to above as "Becca Town" is actually "back'o'town," literally the back of town, which in the way-back old days was anything on the lake side of Rampart Street. It most likely refers to the neighborhood now known as Tremé (truh-MAY), in which the Storyville District was situated until 1917. Faubourg Tremé, about ten blocks north-to-south and sixteen blocks east-to-west, officially became part of New Orleans in 1812; the area surrounding North Claiborne Avenue in particular is still the most active locale for Mardi Gras Indian festivities on Fat Tuesday. Also, since North Dorgenois Street runs through the western side of that neighborhood, about a mile away from Tremé Street, the phrase cited as "Dorgenois right near Tremaine" must be either "...right near Tremé" or "...right near Dumaine." Dumaine Street runs from the French Quarter to Mid-City, intersecting North Dorgenois in the Tremé neighborhood. (Interestingly, we have no problem pronouncing the street named "Dorgenois" in nearly correct French (DER-zhen-wä), but most people here still refer to the street named "Genois" (about ten blocks lakeward from Dorgenois) as "juh-NOYSE." If you ask someone for directions to "Zhen-wä" street, they're likely to tell you they've never heard of it.) An entertaining read as well as a wealth of information on the etymology of New Orleans neighborhoods and street names can be found in "Frenchmen Desire Good Children," a book written in the late 1940s by journalist/historian John Churchill Chase, who now has a street named after him in the Warehouse District. I hope some of this has been helpful. It always makes me happy to know that people from all over the world are interested in the language and culture of my home town. many thanks,
-Neil; 9/11/2008;