If you’ve listened to WTUL at any significant length over the last few years, chances are good that you’ve heard a certain deejay, named Pompeii. Usually taking up the reigns of the blues show, her voice, demeanor, and general on-air banter stand in sharp contrast to other shows. She’s more laid back, quirky, and generally appears to be more lackadaisical than the other hosts. All of this isn’t to suggest she’s somehow stupid or uninterested. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite.
Over the years she’s remained one of the most notable hosts on the station, as well as my clear choice for most engaging and enthralling to listen to, which brings us to the now. I’m sitting in a coffee shop on Maple Street talking to Pompeii, or Ashly Cristia as she goes by when she isn’t blowing up the air with observations regarding all various things including her love for off the beaten path musicians and well her quirks when it comes to dressing up.
Up close she’s more chill than she seems on air, and it matches with the lazy feeling of a Sunday in Nola. Over the course of our time together, I learn plenty about this person I had only recently known as a radio show host. First of all is her style, which I’d go on to describe as “Avant Garde Funky.” She likes this, and with that chime in, she unloads on her history in town.
Born here twenty-eightish years ago, Christia explains just how different she is compared to other people in her age group. To look at her, you’d initially think she’d fall in line with our vast hipster culture who are too cool for school and who only like the “cutting edge” entertainment. Again, you’d be wrong. When I drop names like Kraftwerk, or even Radiohead, the response is met with a shoulder shrug followed by a “Maybe I’ve heard some of their stuff, but I’m not really familiar.” This happens over and over again.
In part it’s frustrating, but the juxtaposition of that is her vast interest in what she does like. Elvis Pressley is described as her “Gateway” into music, while classics like Dylan and even the jazz of Curtis Mayfield are mentioned. It’s eye opening and wonderful to meet a person who’s relatively close to your age, but who always has been able to make her own path in regards to everything she does. In other words, she was meant for a different time where people weren’t so judgmental and cliquey, but she makes the most of it at every turn.
In her words, she’s a native of NOLA and possesses an “innate gift” that she was graced with to spread knowledge, and this gift also applies to how she lives her daily life, it seems. We talk about the cycles in your life, and how good or bad times can propel you to the next big thing. Crista, sitting upright and close to me in a way that can be perceived as engaging and interested, extols on recent changes and her hopes for the future. As she puts it, she’s grown tired of wasting her time with fuck boys, and is traveling through “the lonesome valley” in search of who she’s meant to be. She also hopes to diminish the notion of becoming something great and meaningful without the help of a degree. It’s obviously totally doable, but everyone’s roads are different lengths with various obstacles. She also represents a strong version of a woman who isn’t meant to be trifled with.
Her definition of beauty, although in line with what I consider attractive, doesn’t ultimately line up with what the majority of other think, and but it’s not a thing she cares about. People like different things, and if you can’t accept her curvaceous, off the wall style, as well as her bleached blonde new age haircut then she’ll continue to do what she does best, which is talk about music, give engaging answers, and generally try to find the best place in the world for her special brand of strong and independent woman.
In short, her next few years yearn to be filled with personal success and growth. She hopes to get to these goals with the benefit of her voice, which has served her well so far. Having talked to her and spent a wee bit of time with her, it’s easy to see her drive and her visions for the future. If you get the chance to listen to her show, or to call in and share thoughts with her regarding the music she’s chosen to play, I suggest you do so, because she’s worth the time.