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;Marsha's' Front-Cover, May 29, 2024 copy.png

                                                       ON 'MARSHA'S'



Marsha’s’ is a tribute written to Marsha (Marie Cordier) and her household of Nikki, Jason and Danni in the Spring of 1980. Marsha was my entrée into knowing a little something of Black culture in New Orleans. She was wise and whimsical and passionate. She roller-skated to and from work. I felt she was being beyond prejudices. We laughed a lot.  She buoyed me in particular through 2nd, 3rd and 4th-degree burns, incurred while roughnecking for Offshore Drilling and Exploration Company (ODECO), as I trained for the U.S. Men’s Olympic Marathon Trial.

Marsha let me know much more than the poem conveys. ‘She holds screnes together / Their energy centers in her / Who calls friends “Boo” / Who similarly tells her children / Of their “one and only beautiful mother /In the whole, wide world.” / Apart out of pride / Like a plant herself / The strong and tender and most essential / Animal / Mother / Animal / Mother.’

The rhythm that begins “Marsha’s’ comes from Kirk Joseph, tapped out on his sousaphone during a rehearsal, May 25, 2023.


The Rivers Answer Moons of Kirk, Roger Lewis, Don Vappie and Herman Lebeaux rehearsed and recorded the Track on March 7 and 11 of this year. We added overdubs and the propulsive sweetness of Alexey Marti’s congas and cajon on April 8. The players to my ears bring the lyrics alive, inhabiting scenes and minds with almost preternatural sensitivity and musicality. They express exactly what's going on. 'Marsha's' now does some justice to the world and person of its subject, I feel.

Recording History
March 7, 2024 at the New Orleans Musicians Union rehearsal-space with David Farrell as engineer.
March 11 Tracking at Rick G. Nelson’s Marigny recording Studio with Rick as engineer.
April 8 overdubbing in Studio B of the Marigny with Adam Wilson Keil as engineer.
April 15 mixing with Adam
May 27 and 28 mastering.


Sticky-warm March Friday in New Orleans,
Near suppertime evening, got kids
Wheeling and chasing in their tennies
Along the aslant sidewalk and up grated stairs,
Through the back door, got more--
Friends' and neighbors' and Marsha's girls--
Spread at cards on the kitchen floor.
Jeez, I think, stepping over,
Is this how Black people live?

Scouting out street-lit windows,
By plants hanging and standing
And walls of luteous ("Beauteous!" Marsha says)
Fall foliage, Nikki ('Nicole"), age 11,
Cries: "Momma 's home! Momma's home!"
Danni ("Danielle", she'll tell you),
Hops out like a pixie.
"Momma 's home! Momma 's home!"
Jason, the middle, age 8,
Corrects his sisters: "Naw she ain't."
Then: "Now she is," Jason says.
"Momma 's home! Momma 's home!"
Nikki and Danni rush to clean
The two bedrooms
Where all of the apartment sleep.

Marsha climbs the front stairs.
In her black boots,
Lacy shawl, white blouse and flower-strewn dark
"Hippie skirt", her stature could be a great athlete's.
She sits on the couch, eyes like a
Tired, brooding lioness's
After asking her "darling sugarpuddins"
What they've done. They know not to press.

Saturday, C.C., one brother,
And a friend, in from Biloxi, are sacked out
On chair and couch, kids and me in bedrooms,
When Marsha gets up to wash clothes
Before putting in the morning at Ronnie
The dentist's office, his "handy lady".

Sunday morning, it's S.R.O.--
Children bumping, swatting, spatting round their
"Grand-daddy Joe" Cordier, as
Other "so-called adults" figure out
Who gets whom and what this day.
More than once Marsha says:
"I know everybody else here is crazy."

She holds scenes together.
Their energy centers in her
Who calls friends "Boo",
Who similarly tells her kids of their
"One-and-only beautiful mother
In the whole, wide world."

Apart out of pride,
Like a plant herself,
The strong and tender
And most essential animal.

Animal. Mother.

Animal. Mother.

                           First version April 1980

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