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Lake(s) of Pontchartrain

Lakes of Pontchartrain / / (Ron Mura):
A song Dylan performed quite a few times in the early years of the "Never Ending Tour" (1988-1989) (Ed Ricardo) :
I met an enthusiast for that part of the world one evening and asked if he knew the Lakes of Pontchartrain, in the geographic Karl Erik sense. He said to me, "You mean 'lake' there is only one Lake of Pontchartrain..." Was he correct? It is always plural in all versions of the song. (Ken Pennington):
Yes. It is a very large lake north of New Orleans. If my memory serves me well, the bridge that spans it is 26 miles long. Not recommended after carousing on Bourbon Street ;-) (Bob Cimikowski):
I also cross-posted this to Here's a traditional song arranged by the Irish folksinger Paul Brady. I don't know who wrote it. You will note some similarities in chords (and tuning) to the old Beatles hit "Blackbird." This song can be found on the wonderful album "Welcome Here Kind Stranger."

                  The Lakes of Pontchartrain

                   (trad. arr. Paul Brady)

  Guitar tuning: Open G  (DBGDGD)

  (from 1st to 6th strings)
  (`x' means mute string)

  00000x    - G1
  0(12)0xxx - G2
  x5055x    - C1
  x1x22x    - C2
  xx2x2x    - D1
  x3x44x    - D2
  x7x77x    - D3
  x3400x    - D4
  x0044x    - Bm
  x8x99x    - F#m
  0350x0    - D7

  Intro:   ( h = hammer on)


    G1      C1  D2     C1    G1 D1 D4  C2        D3    G1 C2 D2 C1
    Twas on one bright March morning I bid New Orleans adieu
    G1                     Bm      F#m     D3 C1 D2 C2 G1 C2 D2 C1
    And I took the road to Jackson town, my fortune to renew.
    G1                   Bm F#m  D3 C1 D2 C2   G1 C2 D2 C1
    I cursed all foreign money, no credit could I gain.
    G1           C1 D2    C1   D7      G1      C1       D7      G1   C1 G2 C1 G2
    Which filled my heart with longing for the lakes of Pontchartrain.

    I stepped on board of a railroad car beneath the morning sun
    I rode the rods til evening and I laid me down again.
    All strangers were no friends to me til a dark girl towards me came.
    And I fell in love with a Creole girl, by the lakes of Pontchartrain.

    I said "Me pretty Creole girl, my money here's no good
    And if it weren't for the alligators, I'd sleep out in the wood."
    "Your welcome here kind stranger, our house is very plain.
    And we never turned a stanger out, on the banks of Pontchartrain."

    She took me in to her mammy's house and treated me quite well.
    The hair upon her shoulders in jet black ringlets fell.
    To try to paint her beauty, I'm sure would be in vain,
    So handsome was my Creole girl, on the lakes of Pontchartrain.

    I asked her if she'd marry me, she said "This could never be."
    For she had got a lover, and he was far at sea.
    She said that she would wait for him, and true she would remain,
    Till he returned to his Creole girl, on the lakes of Pontchartrain.
    So fair thee well my Creole girl, I never may see no more.
    But I'll never forget your kindness in the cottage by the shore,
    And at each social gathering, a foamy glass I'll drain.
    And I'll drink a health to my Creole girl by the lakes of Pontchartrain.

From: "Andrew Gaylard" (
Date: Thu, 8 Feb 1996 15:42:12 +1100
Subject: Lakes of Pontchartrain

Only two versions i have of this (Irish band Planxty & local Australian singer) both render title & all verse endings as *banks* of Pontchartrain.

Hence possible confusion leading to plural Lakes in title when there is really only one... don't know whether Lake or Banks is truer to original...

Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation - with an hourly updated picture!