The Lakes of Ponchertrain
T'was on one bright March morning I bid New Orleans adieu
And I took the rode to Jackson town, me fortune to renew
I cursed all foreign money, no credit could I gain
Which filled me heart with longin' for the Lakes of Pontchartain.
I stepped on board of a railroad car beneath the morning sun
And I rode the roads 'til evening and I laid me down again
All strangers here, no friends to me 'til a dark girl towards me came
And I fell in love with a Creole girl from the Lakes of Pontchartrain.
I said my pretty Creole girl, me money here's no good
If it weren't for the alligators I'd sleep out in the wood
You're welcome here kind stranger, our house it's very plain
But we never turn a stranger out at the Lakes of Pontchartrain.
She took me to her mummy's house and she treated me quite well
The hair upon her shoulders in jet black ringlets fell
To try and paint her beauty I'm sure t'would be in vain
So handsome was my Creole girl from the Lakes of Pontchartrain.
I asked her if she'd marry me, she'd said it could never be
For she had got another and he was far at sea
She said that she would wait for him and true she would remain
'Til he returned for his Creole girl from the Lakes of Pontchartrain.
So fair thee well me bonny o' girl I never see no more
But I'll ne'er forget your kindness and the cottage by the shore
And at each social gathering a flowin' glass I'll raise
And drink a health to me Creole girl from the Lakes of Pontchartrain.
1. noun: a seller of ballads, esp on broadsheets.
2. Noun: a writer of mediocre poetry.
History & Synopsis
The exact origin of the song is unknown, though it is commonly held to have originated in the southern United States in the 19th century. In the liner notes of Déanta's album Ready for the Storm, which includes the song, it is described as a "traditional Creole love song." The liner notes accompanying Planxty's version state that the tune was probably brought back by soldiers fighting for the British or French armies in Louisiana and Canada in the War of 1812. Although the tune might date to that period, the popular lyrics undoubtedly came much later, since they tell of taking a railway train from New Orleans to "Jackson Town". This was most likely to be the railway junction town of Jackson, Tennessee (named in honor of Louisiana Governor, General Andrew Jackson). The line would have been the New Orleans, Jackson and Northern Railway—whose line, opened in the 1860s, included a pre-existing local line running north from downtown New Orleans along the shores of Lake Pontchartrain. Most likely, the lyrics date to the Civil War, and the reference to "foreign money" being "no good" could refer to either U. S. or Confederate currency, depending upon who was in control of the area at the time. It should also be noted that thousands of banks, during the civil war, issued their own bank notes, which could be rejected in various towns, depending on how trusted were the issuing bank. Also, the Confederacy and Union issued their own bank notes—as did individual States—leading to a proliferation of currency (notes and coinage) that might not be acceptable in a particular region.
[Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lakes_of_Pontchartrain ]