Pied Piper of Louisiana Music Traditions


Judy Stock, a well-known performer of children’s music, heard Johnette Downing perform and suggested she’d be great with kids.

“And a bell went off,” says Downing. “I knew instantly what I wanted to do with my life.  And the universe just opened up for me. The moment I made the decision to work in children’s music, I was offered a job teaching music to children. And I’ve been performing and teaching now for 31 years. It’s pretty obvious this is what I was meant to be doing.”

Downing averages 200 shows and author visits a year, has written 25 children’s books, recorded 10 records with another coming out in January and performed in 61 of 64 of Louisiana’s parishes. Guess that’s why she’s considered by many to be the “Pied Piper of Louisiana Music Traditions.”

She’s performed on five continents and has won multiple awards including a Grammy Award Participant Certificate, eight Parents’ Choice Awards, two Parent’s Guide To Children’s Media Awards, four National Parenting Publications Awards, and a Family Choice Award, just to name a few.

“I love teaching Louisiana culture to children. It’s what my parents did for me.”

In 2017, Downing was awarded the Louisiana Writer award by The Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana for her body of work. She joins other past winners like Earnest Gaines, James Lee Burke and Elmore Leonard.

Her book, “Petit Pierre and the Floating Marsh,” represented the State of Louisiana in the Pavilion of States at the 2016 National Book Festival and last year her book "Mumbo Jumbo, Stay Out of the Gumbo" represented the State of Louisiana once again.

All these accolades and tributes are the result of not only her talent but the sound management of her career – the business of show business.

“I do all my booking, scheduling, PR and marketing,” she says. “I even schlepp my equipment.  It leaves me less time for the creative side of my business, which is what I love, but it does give me direct contact with my clients and fans. I’ve made friendships and built relationships and that’s what business is all about. It’s the personal connections you build through the years. It’s the reason I’ve endured.”

Her voice, both in writing and singing, is crystal clear, exuberant and always provides a toe-tapping, two-stepping good time for children of all ages as it joyously celebrates our Louisiana culture.

And, as one Amazon reviewer said, “Her music is not like other kids’ music, it’s not annoying at all. I love it too.”


Johnette Downing


P.O. Box 13367
New Orleans, LA 70185-3367
Tel/Fax 504-861-2682



Categories: Labors of Love