Irma Thomas is known as the “Soul Queen of New Orleans.”

In her career spanning more than half a century, the singer has released more than 20 albums, covering the genres of R&B, soul, blues, gospel and pop. She has worked with artists like Dr. John, Allen Toussaint and Marcia Ball, and her work has been reinterpreted by Otis Redding, the Rolling Stones and others. She’s been a staple of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, having performed in the festival annually since 1974.

After her home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2006, Thomas returned to record her album After the Rain just months later, and that record went on to win a Grammy Award for best contemporary blues album — the first Grammy of her career.

Thomas joined us in the Gumbo Kitchen recently to talk about the destruction and recovery of her hometown, why she stopped singing one of her signature songs for many years, and why she’ll never sing gospel music in a nightclub.

Scroll to the bottom if you’d like to listen to the full audio of the interview.