Fats Domino’s house

I’ve got a few more notes from my New Orleans trip that I’ll get out of the way in the next couple of days. Here’s one.

On our bus tour of the Lower 9th Ward on June 21, we passed by Fats Domino’s house. Yes, the famous house from whose roof Fats was rescued after Katrina. He lives at Caffin and Marais streets, in a low-slung house right there on the corner. No gate, no nothin’.

Next door is the modest office for his music publishing company, which I recognized from a photo included in Fats’ latest CD (more on that below). I had no idea it was next door to his residence.

Let me say, I am a Fats Domino fan. I own the four-disc boxed set and the later replacement 4-CD boxed set, two greatest hits CDs, a CD of his early R&B material, an import LP of same and the ’70s Legendary Masters double-LP. I’ve debated buying the 8-disc Bear Family boxed set of all his Imperial Records tracks.

Fats, needless to say, is fabulous is my book. I’ll even recommend his most recent CD, “Alive and Kickin’.” It took me months to find a copy because it’s on some dinky label and received poor distribution. It has one of the most hideous covers you’ll ever see, one that appears to have been put together by a friend whose qualification is that he has Photoshop. The music, I was surprised to learn, was recorded in 2000 but unreleased until now because no labels were interested.

And yet the music is quite good – not as prime as the ’50s material, of course, but much better than we had any right to expect. The songs are catchy and the minimalist piano playing very compelling. One of the songs has a three-note (I think) repeating pattern that is simplicity itself, and for days afterward the figure was on repeat in my brain.

You’d think, after Katrina, some record label would mount a Fats Domino reclamation project and put the man in a studio, or even give “Alive and Kickin’” a push. If they’ll do it for Jerry Lee Lewis, they could do it for Fats.

Anyway: I found my thrill, not on Blueberry Hill, but in a glimpse of the great one’s home. If he was home, I hope he was taking a nap, sitting at the piano, cooking or doing something else he loves.

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  • Dominick Coppi

    My only knowledge of Fats Domino comes from a word problem in Algebra class in which we were supposed to compute his total album sales over a span of years.

    Which proves there’s no aCOUNTING for taste.

    ahem

    [Har. Did everyone know Fats was second only to Elvis in '50s record sales? -- DA]

  • DICEBLU

    David…great blog about “Fats for the Cats”….since you are such a fan and an avid reader you might want to pick up the first-ever biography on Fats that was published a few years ago…364 pages and lots of photos…it is
    “Blue Monday — Fats Domino and the Last Dawn Of Rock ‘n’ Roll”…written by Rick Coleman and published by Da Capo Press….I think it would be a great summer read for you as you’re lounging by the pool at your palatial estate!

    [I'll have my butler pick up a copy. -- DA]

  • Desdave

    New Orleans music is right there behind San Francisco music… two great, offbeat towns that really know how to party.

  • helen walston

    I will be going to mardi gras, and if you know of any way to meet FATS, please let me know, as I can’t imagine getting that close to my IDOL of 40 years and not get to meet him. Think I could just go up, knock on his door, bring cookies, or maybe a check for the NO musicians?? Will do anything — almost. Any contacts, I need some help to accomplish this. Maybe pose as the mail lady.

    Thanks for any and all suggestions, also Alive and Kickin is great.

    Helen

    [Me, I'd leave the poor old guy in peace. But good luck. -- DA]

  • David Fisher

    Would love to know ”Fat’s” home address, and if he permits visitors? Great Entertainer…

    [I don't know the address, as I was on a tour bus, but he can't be that hard to find. He's old and retired, though, and should probably be left to take his ease. -- DA]

  • Steven

    Isnt your name Davy

  • paul fraser

    I met him the other day. i work at whole foods in New Orleans. Chatted to him for 30mins or so. He is super sweet, but mentally not fully there anymore which is sad. It also made me sad when he said he couldn’t bend his fingers any more so he didn’t want anything with a screw top :(

  • eddie Stewart

    I have a Fats Dominos Stage Jacket for sale he has a video wearing it on youtube call me if you are intrested at 865-209-6723