“Southern Nights” Bill Gets Overwhelming Support In House
A bill that would give Louisiana a fifth official state song is on its way to the Senate.
House Bill 351, which would make the Allen Toussaint song "Southern Nights" Louisiana's cultural anthem, received an overwhelming affirmative vote on Thursday. Representatives nearly unanimously approved the bill, with 100 lawmakers voting "yea," one voting "nay," and four House members absent. Rep. Blake Miguez (R-New Iberia) cast the lone "no" vote.
Rep. Vincent Pierre's (D-Lafayette) bill would add "Southern Nights" to the list of the state's official songs. None of the four existing state songs, including Jimmie Davis's "You Are My Sunshine," would lose their state song status.
Toussaint, a New Orleans native and Rock and Roll Hall-of-Famer, wrote the song about his upbringing in the Bayou State.
Grammy-winning Zydeco musician Terrance Simien is among the proponents of the bill. He says the song is a special one for people from Louisiana.
"So many people from around the world can gravitate to and relate to (the song) no matter where you from, but especially for people from the Louisiana," Simien said after the bill cleared a House committee. "The meaning behind that song is a universal meaning. I don't care who you are. Everyone from Louisiana can relate to that song."
The bill is pending Senate introduction. No word on when it will assigned to a Senate committee or when it will be considered in the legislature's upper chamber. Time is running out for that bill to be passed. The legislative session ends on June 10. The Senate reconvenes on Tuesday.