November 7, 2009
Civic Center of Greater Des Moines

Des Moines, IA

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GK: We're in Iowa, where the major industry is gambling. Some call it farming. The corn harvest is a couple weeks behind, the corn is still wet — do you harvest it now and have to pay to dry it out or do you leave it in the field to dry and maybe lose it to a hard freeze.
The French were the first Europeans through here so we're going to do a French show for you today —we invited Michael Doucet and Beausoleil up from Louisiana and chanteuse Francine Roche in honor of Father Jacques Marquette, Louis Joliet,  Pierre LeSueur and other French explorers and traders of the late 17th Century. They came down the river in their canoes (FRENCH HORNS, SIRENS) which had special horns on them so you knew they were French.  The French were not so interested in farming. There was plenty of good farmland in France.  They came here to get away from farming and be cool and skeptical (TR:  FRENCH SKEPTICISM); and sardonic (FN:  FRENCH COOLNESS); and drop their little bon mots (TR:  FRENCH, BON MOT. LIGHT FRENCH LAUGHTER) and try to outdo each other in witty repartee (FN, TR FRENCH REPARTEE), and it wasn't the English who drove the French out so much as the realization that Iowa was inconsistent with the nature of being French. It was a place that tended to push a person toward celibacy, even married people. So they named it "Des Moines" -- meaning "The Monks" --, and so they hopped back in their canoes and departed.  (SFX:  FRENCH HORNS & SIREN)

GK: Downriver they went to New Orleans, which they found much more to their liking.  (SFX: DEBAUCHERY)
It was looser and happier and much more mysterious and the French, they like it like that.

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