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Marshal named for Mardi Gras parade

The music of rock 'n' roll Hall of Fame performer Fats Domino will "float" through the streets of New Orleans this Carnival season.

Domino has been named honorary grand marshal of the Krewe of Orpheus, the star-studded Carnival club that traditionally parades the night before Mardi Gras.

Although he won't be riding in the March 3 parade, his eldest son, Antoine Domino III, is expected to ride on a float equipped with a piano and speakers to perform his father's greatest hits, such as "Blue Monday," ''The Fat Man," ''Blueberry Hill" and "Walking to New Orleans."

Other family members are expected to ride and throw coaster-size, gold-record doubloons and other Fats Domino-themed trinkets from the float.

Mardi Gras is March 4.

Domino, 85, moving a little slow and his speech low, smiled for friends, family and a handful of news media who gathered Friday in his suburban New Orleans living room as he was honoured by the Krewe of Orpheus with a medallion proclaiming him honorary grand marshal.

"I'm happy to do it," he said, but added that he hasn't changed his mind about riding on a float.

"No way," he said.

Referring to the fact that his son would fill in for him, he said, with a smile, "He should be all right."

Domino has been asked to participate in Mardi Gras for years, but this is the first time in recent history he's agreed.

Domino, known for his reclusive nature, rarely leaves the suburban New Orleans home where he's lived since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Water poured through a broken levee, flooding Domino's home in the Lower 9th Ward. His belongings, instruments, pictures and a lifetime of memorabilia were damaged or lost in Katrina's floodwaters.

But two of his pianos were salvaged and are on public display in New Orleans, though neither of them is playable.

Domino, born in New Orleans in February 1928, sold more than 65 million records between 1950 and 1963, making Billboard's pop chart 77 times and its rhythm and blues chart 61 times. The pianist, singer and songwriter is regarded as one of the forerunners of rock music, beloved by musicians including the Beatles, Elvis Presley and Billy Joel.

Each year musical guests are invited to ride in the parade and perform at the glitzy ball held afterward at a nearby convention centre.

The Canadian Press


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