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The ‘Queen of Bourbon Street’ Takes On NC Blues

Image of Pat Mother Blues Cohen
Courtesy of Pat Cohen
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Pat “Mother Blues” Cohen started singing blues tunes as a young girl to entertain her parents’ friends at their home in Edison, New Jersey. She later worked for years in the casino industry and won casino talent competitions so often that she was banned from participating. 

Cohen eventually earned the nickname the “Queen of Bourbon Street” for drawing large crowds into nightclubs in New Orleans. But when Hurricane Katrina destroyed her home, she sought new audiences and a new beginning in North Carolina.

Cohen connected with other musicians in the state through the Music Maker Relief Foundation and has now become a regular performer at The Bullpen in downtown Durham. Host Frank Stasio talks with Cohen about resilience in the face of hardship and how music has helped her through major life transitions.

Cohen performs at The Bullpen Saturday, Oct. 28 and Friday, Nov. 24.

Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist and the host and creator of "Embodied," a live, weekly radio show and seasonal podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.