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New Orleanians Celebrate Fats Domino's Life With Second Line

Travis Lux
People gather ahead of the second line for Fats Domino. Domino passed away on Oct. 24.

Legendary musician Antoine “Fats” Domino passed away last week. New Orleanians celebrated his life and career with a second line parade Wednesday night. The whole thing started at Vaughan's, a bar in the Bywater. The intersection out front was packed by 5 p.m.

People were selling cold drinks and cotton candy. There were barbecue booths atop portable trailers. One person was wearing Fats Domino fat-suit complete with paper mache head, but most were wearing some shade of blue — a reference to the titles of some of Domino’s most famous songs like Blue Monday and Blueberry Hill. Once it got going, the second line marched all the way down St. Claude to Domino's house in the Lower Ninth Ward, and back.

People came out for all kinds of reasons. For Linda Hayward, nostalgia. Her parents played his music for the family when she was young.

She doesn't live in New Orleans anymore, but just happened to be in town and felt she couldn't miss the chance to attend.

Shedrick Roy said Domino was a trailblazer for black musicians.

"Before a Cash Money, before a Lil Wayne, there was a Fats Domino who paved the way for all of them," Roy said. “That’s gigantic.”

Calvin Scott was there, despite never being particularly crazy about Domino's music.

"Cause when I came out, it was all about disco and soul and all that type of stuff," he said.

But Scott loves that Domino stayed in the neighborhood despite his fame.

"I mean he's a fixture of the neighborhood. A guy that made it big and never left the hood, you know what I mean?" he said.

Domino passed away on Oct. 24.

Credit Travis Lux / WWNO
A crowd gathers in front of Fats Domino's home in the Lower Ninth Ward.

As Coastal Reporter, Travis Lux covers flood protection, coastal restoration, infrastructure, the energy and seafood industries, and the environment. In this role he's reported on everything from pipeline protests in the Atchafalaya swamp, to how shrimpers cope with low prices. He had a big hand in producing the series, New Orleans: Ready Or Not?, which examined how prepared New Orleans is for a future with more extreme weather. In 2017, Travis co-produced two episodes of TriPod: New Orleans at 300 examining New Orleans' historic efforts at flood protection. One episode, NOLA vs Nature: The Other Biggest Flood in New Orleans History, was recognized with awards from the Public Radio News Directors and the New Orleans Press Club. His stories often find a wider audience on national programs, too, like NPR's Morning Edition, WBUR's Here and Now, and WHYY's The Pulse.

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