Sussex County native now a New Orleans musical fixture

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  • Photo by Scott Baker Lake WallKill native Debbie Davis is playing the ukelele with her New Orleans native husband Matt Perrine on the Sousaphone during the Lafayette BBQ and Blues festival in 2013.

  • Photo provided Debbie Davis.

Lake Wallkill native Debbie Davis has been plying her craft since she made her first professional singing appearance at the age of two, but it wasn’t until she gambled on a move to New Orleans in 1997 that her music career really took off.

Almost two decades later, Davis has seen her adopted home hit highs, lows and everything in between, but the songstress still manages to bring her family to stay at her childhood home in Vernon every summer.

“My city kids get to go country for a month or so every summer,” she says. “They get to have a little piece of the childhood I grew up with.”

The Vernon home was also the family’s escape during Hurricane Katrina, a disaster from which Davis says New Orleans is still trying to rebuild.

While her New Orleans home was mostly untouched by the storm aside from the roof and grounds, “I know people that just had to start over,” Davis says.

While a lot of progress has been made rebuilding the city and its culture, there is still much to be done.

“I’ll let you know when it’s over,” she adds, with a hint of sarcasm.

Without question, though, Davis says the strength of the revitalization of the area is with the returning residents.

“The people who chose to come back are the strength of the city,” she says. “There is no more apathy — the people that are here now are here by choice.”

Some of these returning residents and musicians, Davis included, are among the cast of the musical theater project “Nine Lives,” which recounts the Katrina experiences of nine New Orleans residents prior to, during and after the storm. The show will be performed live for the first time over the weekend of Aug. 27, marking the ninth anniversary of the storm.

Other projects include Debbie Davis and the Mesmerizers, The Gloryoskis, The Pfister Sisters, Paul Sanchez and the Rolling Road Show, and The New Orleans Nightingales. The schedule is hectic, but Davis says she is “blessed to be a part of so many great projects.”

Davis has also been featured in several seasons of the HBO show Treme’ and will be featured in the October issue of Downbeat magazine.

For more information, or to purchase songs or albums, visit

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