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Mr. Poydras

by The Story Is Everything

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In 1905, New Orleans went through an outbreak of Yellow Fever (the third in rapid succession due to the mosquito population) which left a huge uncared-for population of orphans. Philanthropist Julien Poydras helped provide for these wastrels through the construction of several orphanages, including providing dowrys for the girls. While this was a noble gesture, this song is about the despair of one of the residents of the "Poydras Girls Asylum" It was inspired by the childhood struggles of Tanya's mother, who was a real-life resident.


Up a street called Magazine
Through a black wrought-iron gate
Down a walkway wide and clean
I was to meet my fate
A motherless child was I
A fatherless waif
A brotherless sister
With a gaunt and garish face
Bodies cold and hard they were
Still I stood beside 'em
'Til Mother Margaret brought me in
To the Poydras Girls Asylum, where

Mr. Poydras gave me walls
And a roof above my head
Mr. Poydras gave me water
Mr. Poydras gave me bread
Mr. Poydras left a dowry
For the day that I was wed

But I wish I had my mother's arms instead

I was told I should be grateful
I was told what I should know
Manners, letters, ciphering
I was told to cook and sew
Told about the angels high
And told not to forget them
I was told to beware the demons
But I had already met them
And I carried them inside me
In a twisted ball of hate
'Til the day that I was grown
And walked back through that iron gate, where

I wish I could see my father's eyes instead

Walls and roof and bread and water
May have kept my body whole
But without a family's love
Those good deeds could not mend my soul
I was punished, I was humbled
While the matrons would deride me
As thankless, unappreciative
A fire welled up inside me
For an orphan I will always be
And this place will 'ere remind me
So through the iron gate I walk
With the flames rising up behind me, for

But I'll always wish that I had died instead
Yes I'll always wish that I had died instead


released March 28, 2020
Tanya Voorhees: lead vocals, mandolin
John Voorhees: harmony vocals, 6 string guitar, bass, percussion, harmonica
Phoebe Voorhees: cello

Lyrics by Tanya Voorhees
Music by John Voorhees
Produced by John Voorhees


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The Story Is Everything Gulfport, Mississippi

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