Gwen Thompkins

Gwen Thompkins is a New Orleans native, NPR veteran and host of WWNO's Music Inside Out, where she brings to bear the knowledge and experience she amassed as senior editor of Weekend Edition, an East Africa correspondent, the holder of Nieman and Watson Fellowships, and as a longtime student of music from around the world.

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The Mix
4:44 pm
Mon July 23, 2012

The Mix: New Orleans, Inside Out

A Mardi Gras Indian performs at the 2008 Voodoo Music Experience festival, held in New Orleans City Park.
Jason Saul WWNO

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 3:17 pm

Louisiana music has such a hold on music lovers around the world that nearly every popular artist borrows from it. Or replicates it. Or, some might say, steals from it.

There's plenty to go around. From classical to Cajun and blues to bounce, Louisiana has expanded the American songbook while teaching the rest of the planet to "shake dat thing." And we haven't even mentioned Louis Armstrong yet.

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Dead Stop
2:13 am
Thu July 5, 2012

Beyond The Music In St. Louis Cemetery No. 2

Ernie K-Doe poses outside his Mother-In-Law Lounge during Jazz Fest in New Orleans in 2001. He died a few months later and was buried in St. Louis Cemetery No. 2.
Pat Jolly AP

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 9:25 pm

There's so much water in, around and underneath New Orleans, that the dead spend eternity in tombs above ground.

Most of the tombs now have a similar design: On top, there's space for a wooden coffin or two, and at the bottom lies a potpourri of decanted family remains. Sooner or later, whoever is up high must vacate and settle lower, making room for the newly dead. That's how families stay together — in a desiccated jumble of grandpas, grandmas, siblings and cousins.

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