(Frank Davis presented this Naturally N'Awlins version of "The Night Before Christmas" in the late 1980s. We've reposted it here in his honor.)
‘Twas the night before Christmas under twinkling stars
As New Orleans made ready for old Santa Claus.
Last minute shoppers raced home from the malls
From uptown and downtown and old town St. Charles.
The traffic was light on the Huey P. Long
Even Lucky Dog vendors sang soft Christmas songs.
But down in the Ninth Ward they were having a party, dancing and singing and toasting Hap Glaudi.
Huerstel's was serving up cold Christmas cheer and customers glowed like a red-nosed reindeer.
Cold wind from the river put a chill in the air
And singers sang carols in old Jackson Square.
The French Market sparkled in Christmas display
And tourists ate beignets with café au lait.
Mama and Daddy took all of the kids
To the tree lots on Veterans for last minute bids.
What would Santa bring when he came in the mist?
What’s down for New Orleans on his Christmas list?
Well, there’s final approval for a New Orleans “casina”
And games such as blackjack and roulette and keno.
Some new parking meters for the ones that were stole
And a truckful of hot mix to patch our potholes.
A finished Aquarium without one single blunder
And an awning at K-Paul’s for folks to stand under.
A sure way to kill our New Orleans cockroaches
And new hats for the mules that pull French Quarter coaches.
And Santa, we need us someone to deliver
A plan for the tram that runs over the river.
And under the tree, Santa, leave us the loot
For a tool or a gizmo that can outsmart the boot.
And bring us a painter who can show us with proof
How to cover the rust on the Superdome roof.
And packed in his sleigh, he’s made enough room
For a key that will put the calliope in tune.
Forget about sugar plums, they’re just in your dreams.
What we want is a recipe for blackened red beans
And mixed in with the choo-choos, the dolls and the paints
Is a Super Bowl berth for the New Orleans Saints.
And show us, dear Santa, as a Christmas surprise
How to keep traffic moving on the I-10 High Rise.
It was long after midnight when Santa hit town
And to fill all our wishes took some running around.
He emptied his sleigh in that early morn mist
But found none of the things on our New Orleans list,
And then with a voice that was ringing with glee, he said 'What you ask, you won't get it from me.'
I’m sorry to say this to all you lil dawlin's
But the things on your list are just Naturally N’Awlins.
Maybe next year when things ain’t so tight
Meanwhile, Merry Christmas and to all a good night!