Local Christmas Songs That Scored

Just for fun, here are two locally themed Christmas season songs that happened to be popular at times worth dancing to, one when LSU won its first national football championship and the other when the Saints won the big one:



In 1958 Louisianans were thrilled because LSU, for the first time, had just won the national football championship. This was exciting stuff in a state where being number one in anything positive was seldom part of the conversation.

Though it had nothing to do with football, something else happened that Christmas season which didn’t get near as much notice as the Tigers, but that would have staying power and create a romanticized image of Christmas in Louisiana. Brenda Lee, a 14-year-old from Atlanta with a voice and personality that sounded double her age, recorded a countrified classic called, “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree.” It is a good upbeat song enshrined forever on the holiday playlist. For Louisiana, however, the notable news was the song on side B of the record, “Papa Noel.”

For this song, Lee faded into a theatric Cajun accent to express the hopes of being down on the bayou on Christmas Day:

Hey Beau, let’s go and get pirogue and push-pole down the bayou,
I want to see the Christmas Tree, dance o-fais do do.
Have a big time and cut a shine, where all will be gay-o
Oh, Santa Claus will come tonight, down on the bayou

With each stanza, the last word was emphasized boldly making rhymes out of “bayou,” “fais do do” and “gay-o.”

There are Louisiana French references throughout including Nannan and Parrain (godmother and godfather) and ma cher ami-o (my sweetheart). My favorite line is, “Auntie Luce will cook the goose, and she will serve the gumbo.” Why? Because, “Santa Claus will come tonight, down on the bayou.”

And he would keep on coming: The song was included in a Brenda Lee albums in 1995, “Little Miss Dynamite,” and ‘99 “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”

“Papa Noel” describes a Christmas day event set in the bayou that all wish we could experience at least one. Unlike LSU, the song would never reach No. 1 but it survives as a Christmas season perennial, especially in a state where on the day after Christmas, Aunt Luce might very well be making a goose gumbo.



No song ever has entwined Christmas and the Saints so closely. It would be impossible to do do. In this bouncy tune Ruffns assures over and over that all he wants for Christmas is “The Saints in the Superbowl.” The video is worth watching not just because of Ruffin’s performance but because of his appearance with popped out eyes teasing to the camera while accomplishing the almost impossible task of smiling while playing the trumpet. Warning the song is infectious.

“Come on Coach we want to go to the Superbowl

Who Dat’s wearing Black and Gold”

It turns our Ruffins was in those colors to as he recorded the video wearing a black jacket, shirt and fedora complement by a gold tie.

Santa must have been listening to Ruffin’s request. The song was recorded in 2009, the Saints best regular season ever culminating in that magical evening when our boys won the Superbowl in January 2010.

Hey Kermit, could you work your magic again and ask Santa for no more hurricanes?


Have something to add to this story, or want to send a comment to Errol? Email him at errol@myneworleans.com.

SOMETHING NEW: Listen to Louisiana Insider a weekly podcast covering the people, places and culture of the state: LouisianaLife.com/LouisianaInsider or Apple Podcasts.

BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT: Errol’s Laborde’s books, “New Orleans: The First 300 Years” and “Mardi Gras: Chronicles of the New Orleans Carnival” (Pelican Publishing Company, 2017 and 2013), are available at local bookstores and at book websites.


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