In Memoriam

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Pete Fountain: 1930-2016

Posted By on Sat, Aug 6, 2016 at 4:06 PM

Pete Fountain and his "Half-Fast Walking Club" on Fat Tuesday 2009. - CREATIVE COMMONS/CARNAVAL.COM STUDIOS
  • CREATIVE COMMONS/CARNAVAL.COM STUDIOS
  • Pete Fountain and his "Half-Fast Walking Club" on Fat Tuesday 2009.

Pete Fountain, the clarinetist and one of New Orleans' premier 20th century ambassadors to the world, died this morning in hospice, according to the Associated Press. Fountain was 86.

A native New Orleanian, Fountain rose to fame in the 1950s on The Lawrence Welk Show before returning to New Orleans and opening an eponymous nightclub on Bourbon Street in the building that now houses the Oz dance club. In the coming years, he would appear many times on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, playing with the Doc Severinsen Orchestra and touring the country. In the 1970s, he closed his Bourbon Street club and established "Pete Fountain's Jazz Club" at the New Orleans Hilton Riverside, where he performed until 2003.

Fountain performed for Pope John Paul II at St. Louis Cathedral in 1987, and received the Big Easy Awards' Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998. He also was known for his "Half-Fast Walking Club," a Mardi Gras marching group that wended its way into the French Quarter on Fat Tuesday morning. The group was too "half-fast" for Baton Rouge; in 2010, in its first appearance in a Mardi Gras parade there, organizers kicked Fountain and his krewe out of the parade for marching too slowly.


In a statement, Mayor Mitch Landrieu said, "He was an inspiring performer whose unmistakable sound defined our city's unique cultural heritage. We have lost one of the jazz greats, but his music will live on forever. My thoughts and prayers are with his family during this very difficult time of grief.”

Gov. John Bel Edwards said, "Mr. Fountain and his clarinet filled our streets, homes and hearts with music and joy. Throughout his extensive career, Mr. Fountain was always a proud ambassador for the City of New Orleans."

Here's Fountain in one of his many performances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1979. Below the cut: some social media memories of Fountain:

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Friday, August 5, 2016

Jo 'Cool' Davis died

Posted By on Fri, Aug 5, 2016 at 6:01 PM

jocooldavis_copy.jpg

Jo "Cool" Davis died, according to WWL TV. He was 63.

Davis was a gospel singer who recorded prolifically. He won numerous awards, including two Big Easy Music Awards. 

Davis was a familiar face in the Gospel Tent at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and he brought gospel music to many secular venues. To many New Orleanians, he was the face they met at the door of the club Tipitina's, where he worked and performed for many years. 

Davis is survived by his wife Evelyn, twin brother George and daughter Charlene.

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Sunday, July 10, 2016

Alton Sterling peace vigil second line in New Orleans July 10

Posted By on Sun, Jul 10, 2016 at 12:27 PM

Alton Sterling
  • Alton Sterling

Alton Sterling Peace Vigil March and Second Line

Sunday, July 10, 2016 5-7pm

Today’s peace march and second line is being spearheaded by Charles ‘Action Jackson’, radio DJ for WWOZ radio and ‘second line ambassador’, to show support for the family of Alton Sterling, who was killed by Baton Rouge police officers. “I’m tired.”, says a weary sounding Jackson. “I am a young Black man, born and raised in 9th ward. Fo so much killing going on, nobody more on radio that has a voice than me. I have to use that voice to keep people calm, to work with the police.”

Jackson, who worked over 36 years in law enforcement, says he can relate to the stresses police officers are under. “They have to make split decisions.” But says the goal of today’s event is “to stop the killing, stop the violence. We come in peace. We want to help everyone stay calm.”

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Monday, June 13, 2016

New Orleans gathers to remember victims of the Orlando shootings

Posted By on Mon, Jun 13, 2016 at 10:35 AM

Participants at last night's vigil for the Orlando shooting victims formed a human chain along the Mississippi River. - DELLA HASSELLE
  • DELLA HASSELLE
  • Participants at last night's vigil for the Orlando shooting victims formed a human chain along the Mississippi River.
A black flag with a rainbow fleur-de-lis fluttered above. Below, a circle of men, women and transgender members of the New Orleans LGBT community stood in silence, cradling flickering candles. Some who gathered at a local vigil Sunday night could be heard sobbing as friends and loved ones tried to offer comfort.

Less than 24 hours after 50 were killed at an Orlando gay dance club — a massacre that is now being called the worst mass shooting in United States history — members of the LGBT community near and far were left reeling.

The loss was deeply felt in New Orleans, as the city’s Pride Week loomed just a week ahead, and as locals were preparing for Labor Day weekend’s Decadence Festival, the city’s largest gay event that’s been tradition for more than 40 years.

As he gave a speech on the Moon Walk next to the Mississippi River, Frank Perez, vigil speaker and member of LGBT+, reiterated a story that resonated among those who had gathered for the impromptu vigil.

Perez, he said, had woken up to the news, which had broken in the wee hours of the morning. Omar Mateen, 29, a Florida man who had reportedly given his allegiance to the Islamic State, had opened gunfire in Pulse, a club known for its outreach as much as for its dancing. Armed with an assault-type rifle and a handgun, according to the Associated Press, Mateen killed 50 and injured another 53 before being shot to death by law enforcement. In the aftermath, local blood banks cited a “dire” need for donations. It was a suspected hate crime.

“Like most of you I went through a series of emotions throughout the day. I was sad, I was angry, I was confused, I was dumfounded,” Perez said. “We want to make sense of these tragedies, and I don’t know if we can.”

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Purple reign: a purple Prince second line and celebration in New Orleans

Posted By on Tue, Apr 26, 2016 at 2:00 AM

The Ooh Poo Pah Doo Bar in Treme spilled out with Prince fans and balloons before a second line and block party April 25.
  • The Ooh Poo Pah Doo Bar in Treme spilled out with Prince fans and balloons before a second line and block party April 25.
One by one, purple balloons emerged from the Ooh Poo Pah Doo's front door. Hands found the balloons' strings and sent them into the crowd, where fans mourned and celebrated the life of Prince, who died Thursday, April 21 at his Paisley Park estate in Minneapolis.

Fans brought framed photographs and album covers and unframed sleeves, or plastic guitars shaped like his signature symbol, their faces flecked with glitter, eyeliner and pencil mustaches. A second line parade honoring the late performer, set for April 25, attracted fans far and wide, young and old to the bar on Orleans Avenue, dotted with rolling bar carts with Cognac and coolers with bottled water and Bud Light.

Two white horses pulled a Charbonnet Funeral Home carriage escort for a purple-draped casket, ceremoniously paraded and returned to the bar at sunset, where an enormous block party filled the streets, There, the crowd roared through the chorus of "Purple Rain," the memorial's finale, while holding up cellphone lights and peace signs.

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Monday, April 25, 2016

Y@ Speak: dearly beloved

Posted By on Mon, Apr 25, 2016 at 2:52 PM

New Orleans mourns the loss of The Purple One.

Also: nude dudes at Jazz Fest, which goes to peoples' heads on #NOLAscanner, 

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

New Orleans honors Prince

Posted By on Thu, Apr 21, 2016 at 4:30 PM

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Prince Rogers Nelson died today, April 21, 2016, at his storied Paisley Park home in Minnesota. He was 57.

Jazz in the Park at Armstrong Park will honor the performer this afternoon (weather permitting), followed by a second line tribute from All for One Brass Band. The Soul Rebels Brass Brand will dedicate an '"all Prince, all night" set at Le Bon Temps Roule at their Thursday night residency. Ooh Poo Pah Doo Bar (1931 Orleans Ave.) honors the artist with a second line memorial beginning 5:30 p.m. Monday, April 24. The memorial begins with the release of white doves, and a parade through Treme follows. On April 24, organizers honored requests for an animal-free memorial. "Although tears will surely be shed in New Orleans, no doves will cry or die in Prince's honor," Senior Vice President Lisa Lange said in a statement. "Prince was royalty to PETA, and we are relieved that Monday's memorial will be as kind to animals as he was." New Orleans singer-songwriter Arsene DeLay will read a poem remembering Prince at 5:30 p.m.

New Orleans musicians are heartbroken at his loss. The artist's final New Orleans performance lit up the Superdome in 2014 during Essence Festival — literally, with a massive purple light blanketing the Dome's exterior.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Allen Toussaint's last recordings to be issued in June

Posted By on Wed, Apr 13, 2016 at 1:25 PM

American Tunes, an album of Allen Toussaint's last recordings, will be released in June. - COURTESY NONESUCH RECORDS
  • COURTESY NONESUCH RECORDS
  • American Tunes, an album of Allen Toussaint's last recordings, will be released in June.
The late Allen Toussaint's final recordings will be issued June 10, according to a release today from Nonesuch Records

American Tunes, a new studio album, had been completed shortly before the singer-songwriter's death in November 2015, the company said. It consists of two sets of recordings: one made in 2013, the other in October 2015, just a month before Toussaint died:
The album comprises solo performances of Professor Longhair tunes and band arrangements of songs by Toussaint, Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Paul Simon, and others. American Tunes is available to pre-order now at iTunes and in the Nonesuch Store, where the album track "Big Chief" may be downloaded instantly; Nonesuch Store pre-orders come with an exclusive limited-edition print. A two-LP vinyl version, also available June 10, includes three bonus tracks.
Rhiannon Giddens, Van Dyke Parks and others are on the album as well.

Toussaint was honored and remembered at an all-star performance at the Orpheum Theater last November, and the New Orleans City Council declared Jan. 14, 2016 "Allen Toussaint Day" in New Orleans.

Listen to American Tunes' beautiful piano rendition of "Big Chief":

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Will Smith second line postponed to Friday, April 15

Posted By on Wed, Apr 13, 2016 at 10:36 AM

Will Smith in 2012. - JEFFREY BEAL
  • JEFFREY BEAL
  • Will Smith in 2012.
Heavy rains postponed a second line led by James Andrews to honor former New Orleans Saint Will Smith, who was killed late Saturday. The second line — originally scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 13 — is rescheduled for 6 p.m. Friday, April 15.

Andrews tells Gambit the second line is not only a memorial to Smith but a message of nonviolence. Andrews says performers include his Crescent City All Stars and many musical members of the Andrews family.

The 2.7-mile route begins outside the Half Moon (1125 St. Mary St.) and continues north on Camp Street, left on Canal Street, and right on Basin Street to Orleans Avenue. It ends at the Ooh Poo Pah Doo Bar at 1931 Orleans Ave. Andrews also will perform at the bar.

Organizers encourage people to bring anti-violence signs and "pictures to commemorate all lost to violence in New Orleans."

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Saints announce official visitation for Will Smith

Posted By on Tue, Apr 12, 2016 at 3:20 PM

Will Smith of the New Orleans Saints, in 2012. - JEFFREY BEALL
  • JEFFREY BEALL
  • Will Smith of the New Orleans Saints, in 2012.
The New Orleans Saints organization will hold a visitation Friday for fans wanting to pay respects to the late Will Smith. The visitation will be held at the team's practice facility in Metairie.

Smith, who played for the team from 2006 to 2012, was shot Saturday night in the Lower Garden District in an altercation following a fender bender. 

There also will be a memorial second line Wednesday night in the Lower Garden District near the scene of the shooting. It begins at 6 p.m. Update: Due to weather, the second line is postponed to Friday, April 15. Full route information here.

Information on the visitation is under the cut.

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