New Orleans To Pay Tribute To The Great Allen Toussaint

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The city of music is preparing a farewell to musical legend Allen Toussaint, who died earlier this month at the age of 77.

         Throngs of fellow musicians, fans, friends and family were expected to make their way Friday morning to the Orpheum Theater in downtown New Orleans to pay their respects to Toussaint, whose body will be in a closed casket inside the ornate theater.

         After the public visitation, a lineup of musicians is to perform a musical tribute to Toussaint. The tribute is to be played live on the city's community radio station WWOZ.

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         Toussaint died from a heart attack on Nov. 10 while on tour in Spain. A private burial is planned Saturday.

         Toussaint was born in New Orleans and was a quintessential part of the New Orleans musical scene starting from his teenage years after he taught himself to play the piano. Besides playing the piano, he was a versatile songwriter and producer.

         His long career took him from the Crescent City to the world stage. He had numerous hits to his name. He penned the 1966 Lee Dorsey classic "Working in the Coal Mine" and produced Dr. John's 1973 hit "Right Place, Wrong Time" and 1975's "Lady Marmalade" by the vocal trio Labelle. Other hits include "Southern Nights," and "Ruler of My Heart."

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         He worked with a series of well-known musicians, including Paul Simon, Paul McCartney, Patti LaBelle, Joe Cocker, Ernie K-Doe, Elvis Costello and Art and Aaron Neville.

         Toussaint, a Grammy Award winner, is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. In 2013, he was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama.

         – by AP Reporter Cain Burdeau

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