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New Orleans

Reimagining the City, Series 1 Episode 1 of 4

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 05 January 2013

When the writer Nik Cohn was 10 years old, while on holiday in London, he visited a bookshop and found a copy of Alan Lomax's book on Jelly Roll Morton, the famous New Orleans musician. It had photographs of Jelly Roll's hometown - "the city of dreams" as it seemed to Nik. He fell for Jelly Roll Morton's vision of the city "hook line and sinker".

Sitting in the rain in a school room back home in Northern Ireland, New Orleans became a place of magical possibilities. It would be another decade before he finally got to visit it, but it has become a place he returns to and re-discovers constantly.

"Re-Imagining the City" is a series of four programmes in which we're offered a different vision of a city which can feel familiar. In this first programme, Nik takes us to the city he's had a love affair with all his life. "Music is just here" he says, "it's all around the city". Nik muses on what makes New Orleans so different, so special. The beauty, the music and the food are all part of it, but living under sea level also has an impact on anyone who spends proper time in the city. It's still his city of dreams.

Produced by Rachel Hooper
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.


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