Thanks to the bibliographic notes in 2003’s The Cajuns: Americanization of a People by Shane K. Bernard, I was able to affirm that “Cajun Interstate” by Rod Bernard is, indeed, about the building of the highway that traverses the bottom of Louisiana – Interstate 10:
“Cajun Interstate” Rod Bernard 1970
As Shane K. Bernard writes:
“South Louisianians were fascinated by the construction of I-10, particularly an eighteen-mile section known as the “Atchafalaya Expressway” [which opened in 1973]. The monumental elevated causeway cut directly through the Atchafalaya Basin, a vast, snake-infested wetlands that to many symbolized South Louisiana’s cultural isolation.
‘They said it couldn’t be done — building a highway over the swamps,’ mused a journalist. The engineering feat so impressed one South Louisiana musician that he composed ‘Cajun Interstate,’ a rock ‘n’ roll paean to the structure that also manifested a growing grassroots ethnic pride movement.”
Here comes the superhighway,
That superhighway boss,
But it’s gonna take a Cajun crew
To get that road across…
Fifty mile of concrete,
Fifty miles of steel,
Shining down on me.
Mama make a gumbo.
Tonight we’ll celebrate
And sing about your Cajun boy
That build that interstate.
Atchafalaya Basin Bridge
“Cajun Interstate” (b/w “A Tear in a Lady’s Eyes“) was released on Shelby Singleton’s SSS International label in December 1970. Both tunes were written by Rod Bernard (who, earlier in his career, helped pioneer a musical mix of New Orleans rhythm & blues, country, Cajun and black creole known as “swamp pop“), along with “E. Futch” — birth name of country singer/songwriter, Eddy Raven, who would later write a song also voicing praise for the Cajun work ethic, “Alligator Bayou,” on which he sang, “Working on a board road running through the swamp for a dollar and a half an hour / A Cajun man with a love for life and a whole lot of muscle power.”
Thanks to Shane K. Bernard, who provided the back story on Eddy Raven (above) as well as the tip to Rod Bernard’s 1964 labor lament of working for the “Boss Man’s Son” – featuring the backing of Johnny and Edgar Winter: