MORE FROM SISTER SARA DAVIS:
When I arrived in New Orleans, I planted myself right in the middle of the action and
because WNPS had recently burned and was desperate for a DJ with a bundle of music and
who was willing to scale the Dixie Brewery building to the transmitter shack where the
station was forced to broadcast for a while, I got my first paying radio gig. I
backpacked the likes of Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Kitty Wells, Waylon Jennings, and Kinky
Friedman, to explode a mix like no other, which we mostly called progressive country,
a sound popular in Austin.
The real payoff was the city and the times--not just Jazz Fest, Mardi Gras or partying
with the Gonzo band late nights at Jed's--but the scent of the French Quarter from where
I perched in the window at WNOE AM (I worked as an engineer in 1978 and did a little
airtime on AM and FM.) on Sunday mornings watching the people below, as a tape of
American Top 40 rang out from inside.
In this culture, the Times Picayune and other publications gave nod to a novice
female radio personality, setting me off on a quest for the next utopia. A packed NOLA
streetcar party proved a stellar send-off and I landed in Louisville.
Louisville was a whole other place with Derby (I would be the one wearing the straw
cowboy hat), St. Patrick's parades, and crashing into the Ohio River during the
Kentucky State Fair Hot Air Balloon Race.
Home is Memphis, with May, the river, the Peabody, the ribs, and the blues. In all those
years, in Louisiana, Texas, Kentucky and Tenessee, I relate two certainties--many personal
stories themed similar (and probably should remain secret), and I encountered many of the
same guys city to city--because there's really only about a dozen of us anyway.
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