We know this about the women of New Orleans:
• They have a sassy style that will drive you crazy.
• They have a flair for life, love and laughter, and they will hold you like the night.
• They strut and sway from dusk to dawn.
Those statements are no doubt correct because we were told so by Louisiana’s LeRoux in their late ’70s classic, “New Orleans Ladies.” Each year as we prepare our annual female achievers issue that song comes to mind. While our honorees might or might not “drive you crazy,” they are certainly driven, perhaps because of their flair for life. And if they strut at all, it is because they have much to be proud of.
For all their substantive achievements, the women of the city should at least be pleasantly amused to be part of a subset that is honored in song. After all, no one ever wrote a song about New Orleans gentlemen – a group once known for firing dueling pistols at each other.
“New Orleans Ladies” is a hauntingly soft, melodic, even lovely song, in its own way of typifying its subject matter. Its lyrics, which are infectiously singable, do present some curiosities. One is the recurring line, “they sashay by.”
My dictionary, Random House Webster’s, defines “sashay” as to “walk, move or proceed easily or nonchalantly” and “to strut.” Sounds to me like it means to move with attitude.
A quick survey of some of the New Orleans ladies in the office found none who admitted to routinely sashaying, especially from, as the song says, Bourbon Street to Esplanade. That might be just as well because Bourbon Street and Esplanade run perpendicular to each other. One can stand at the intersection of the two and be on both streets without having to sashay at all.
“New Orleans Ladies” made stars out of Baton Rouge- based Louisiana’s LeRoux and will live on as one of the best New Orleans-theme recordings of the pop-rock genre.
We New Orleans men will continue to appreciate the song’s subject matter, not just for their style but for their achievements.•