John Boutte and Michael Doucet

by Chad Campbell, senior producer

John Boutte on the mic at WWNO in New Orleans

John Boutte is best known for singing the theme song over the opening credits of the HBO series Treme. It is a pitch-perfect way to introduce the stories set in post-Katrina New Orleans but remarkably, Boutte wrote and recorded the song before the show was created. His creole family has lived in the city’s 7th Ward neighborhood for generations and the Bouttes are a musical family with sisters, nieces and brothers all singing for a living. Boutte himself played coronet and trumpet growing up in New Orleans, but he gave it all up for college and an exciting career as a credit union branch manager. As Boutte tells Bob, it was a chance encounter with Stevie Wonder that inspired him to follow his heart back into music. Bob and Boutte also bonded over their shared time in the Army, both serving in Korea, although a decade apart. Bob spent his time in Seoul delivering the news while Boutte sang in base choirs and the choruses in the DMZ. He even remembers and sings a Korean folk song for Bob. Boutte says he used to sing it at bars for free drinks.

Here are links to some of the music you heard.


Mardi Gras Mambo

At the Foot of Canal

soundtrack for Season One of Treme

and A Stew Called New Orleans, recorded with Boutte’s pal and recent guest, Paul Sanchez.

Michael Doucet and Bob in the parlor of Maison de Macarty

Our final New Orleans interview recorded in May was with Michael Doucet, founder and leader of Beausoleil, the most popular and well-known Cajun band in the world. Doucet, his brother and their band are from southwest Louisiana, specifically the Lafayette area – but they were in town performing at Jazz Fest. Doucet gave us a lesson in Cajun history as his ancestors were chased from France to Acadia, Nova Scotia down to the swamps and bayous of Louisiana – they place they could finally call home since no one else wanted to live there. Turns out their culture, music, language and food are rather enjoyable too. The songs even get Bob to move despite the fact that he doesn’t understand the lyrics which are sung largely in French.

Here are links to a few albums by Beausoleil.

Best of Beausoleil

Alligator Purse

L’Amour ou la Folie

and here’s a DVD where you can see the band in action at the 2005 Jazz Fest

Finally, here are extra pictures of Bob with Michael Doucet and John Boutte.

Michael Doucet and Bob on the front porch of Maison de Macarty
Bob and John Boutte after their interview at WWNO in New Orleans

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