With Hurricane Ida bearing down on his home state of Louisiana, musician Louis Michot felt helpless. After a quick jaunt for his band’s—Grammy winning Lost Bayou Ramblers—first gig outside Louisiana in nearly two years, Michot and his crew raced home to be with their family as the storm approached. An unlucky break during the show led to a short COVID scare, but even more frightening were the cries for help he saw online as Ida pummeled New Orleans and other areas, knocking out power for weeks. Once he felt safe and healthy—he never did get sick, thankfully—Michot and his band raced into action, setting up gofundme campaigns to bring goods and services to those areas devastated by the storm. His band raised tens of thousands of dollars for supplies like food, gas, and everyday needs. Once the immediate crisis ended, he started thinking bigger. He launched the Louisiana Solar Fund to bring portable solar generators into indigenous areas wrecked by the storm. In this special episode of For Songs, Louis talks about this work, the state of the power grid, and why it is so important to bring resilient forms of energy to all corners of the country.
Oh yeah, we also talk about music and his latest EP, the five-song live recording Tiny Island. Tiny Island was recorded by his second band Michot’s Melody Makers outdoors on his property. The Melody Makers are joined by the incredible and versatile singer/songwriter/cellist Leyla McCalla. We talk about three songs from the EP, how the band maintains its tight sound without rehearsing, and how cool it is when the bugs and frogs living on Louis’s property accompany the band. Please join me in welcoming Louis Michot back to For Songs.