King of New Orleans

Album: Friction, Baby (1996)
Charted: 62

Songfacts®:

  • Better Than Ezra formed at Louisiana State University and was based in New Orleans. "King of New Orleans" is about the homeless kids who hung out in the French Quarter of the city who were known as "gutter punks." These kids were typically either ignored or disparaged, which is explored in the song. In our interview with lead singer Kevin Griffin, he told the story:

    "I saw this one kid who was really charismatic, and I could tell he was kind of a leader among all the kids, the gutter punks, so I made him into this fictional kind of a Peter Pan-esque guy, and these kids were the Lost Boys and called him the King of New Orleans - I made up this story about him. That was what 'King of New Orleans' was about: trying to write the story about these kids and where they came from and where they were going. And encountering a bunch of drunk frat guys who looked down on these kids. Like, 'Play some Cat Stevens' when he's playing guitar."
  • Those are real gutter punks in the video, which was shot on their turf. "It was a heavy video and it's full of overwrought emotion, for sure," Griffin told us. "The happy ending is there was this beautiful girl in the video with these dreds and these amazing tattoos. She did the video and then we lost touch with her. Then it was maybe 10 years later, she came to a show and she looked great, and she was married and just a normal girl. She was having a kind of wild time in the Quarter living on the streets at one point in her life."
  • This was the first single from Friction, Baby, the second Better Than Ezra album. It was followed by "Desperately Wanting."

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