Music Genre(s): Cajun/Zydeco
About Jim Hobbs
Authored by: Ronald Clingenpeel
“My biggest mistake in life was to not be born in South Louisiana,” said Jim Hobbs, one of the Sunday afternoon hosts of the Cajun and Zydeco show. Raised in Shreveport, Louisiana, Jim came to New Orleans in 1973 thinking he would stay a couple of years, but he’s still here, and has been on air at WWOZ since the mid-1990s. Hobbs loves it so much here, he now wishes that he had been born in New Orleans, “I though I might end up in Portland or Seattle, but I caught the fever and stayed.”
Born here or not, Jim has been extremely active in the New Orleans music scene for years, including volunteering at Jazz Fest through 1990. He won an award for his volunteer involvement in the Jazz Fest Craft Areas. It was in 1990 that his friend Steve Schwarz (one of the owners of Mat and Naddie’s Café in Uptown) was wearing a WWOZ t-shirt at Jazz Fest. Jim asked him what WWOZ was and soon he was working in the music library at ‘OZ. It was a natural place for him to land, because Jim is also a librarian at Loyola University.
Jim’s involvement on the Cajun and Zydeco show began when Charles Laborde needed a substitute on air and Jim began filling in. Now he engineers for Charles each Sunday.
“Jazz Fest started me out on Cajun and Zydeco music. It was there that I was introduced to the music of Clifton Chenier, Dewey Balfa and others. We didn’t have much Cajun music in Shreveport, so I rarely heard it growing up,” Jim said. However, there was plenty of R & B and Country music and he was familiar with the Louisiana Hayride on KWKH radio. He learned an appreciation of music from his mother who was a classical vocalist and it was his little sister who interested him in Pop and Broadway music. While in college, his musical horizons expanded and Jazz Fest help nuture that interest.
When he’s not working or on air, you just might run into him at a Cajun or Zydeco show somewhere in town. Born here or not, Jim Hobbs seems to have soaked in enough that all those that know him understand just how much this music is a part of his soul.
Jim is on WWOZ Sundays with Charles Laborde at 1 p.m.