Margaret in choir told me Pete Fountain died this morning. The years that man brought nothing but joy to us all. Remember him from just around the time I was able to remember and he always had my complete liking. I remember the time my brother was living in Atlanta and was miserable, so homesick for New Orleans…he said he made a pot of red beans, put on Pete Fountain and said, “do you think God is trying to punish me?” ( No, Tim, not God, just someone in your life who has to have her way about everything.)
It’s almost impossible to sum up the legacy this man has left us, and the good he has done. Sad he won’t lead the Half Fast Marching Club each Mardi Gras (say the first two words really fast and you’ll see the joke). I just remember his style was like a good long sip of bourbon…and then you just wanted to dance and rejoice in a funky New Orleans way. God bless Pete Fountain. I remember Mom telling me when he owned a club in the French Quarter before Tim and I were born, she and Daddy would go there sometimes on a Saturday night and Pete would start playing from the stage, and then he’d march from the stage through the club with everybody following him, and then out to the street all around the French Quarter playing music nonstop. She said it was the best fun. It’s sad to lose someone who only brought joy, and oddly enough, somehow all that joy they brought you acts as a wall to prop you up and celebrate, not mourn them.
This has always been one of my favorite pieces of his…the first slow part, to sashay on the veranda of Oak Alley at night, in the moonlight…dreamily.