Louise got her first guitar at age 12, given to her by her brother. She says that among the first people she remembers listening to were Van Morrison, Bonnie Raitt, Neil Young, Leon Russell, and Nina Simone.
Her first forays into performing involved "street music," where she'd take four to six songs she'd written, find a street corner, and play them over and over. Her distinct rhythmic style was developed on the streets, she says. Struck by wanderlust, she left home at fifteen and hitchhiked and busked her way around the United States. At age twenty, she stayed in Texas for six months, near the Gulf of Mexico, She got a job as a waitress in a cantina and became immersed in the world of the local fishermen. This sojourn is documented in the vivid and moving song, "Blue Northern," from her third album, Ride.