Musicians Dealing with Effects of Hurricane Katrina


The search for information on the victims of Hurricane Katrina has been an exercise in frustration; shards of information have appeared and disappeared on the internet at an alarming rate, and no one can be sure what’s true and what’s not. New Orleans may be the most important city in the history of American music, and many musical pioneers have had their lives altered in ways that we won’t know about for some time.

Case in point: the Fats Domino saga. For most of the week, the 77-year-old Domino was missing and unaccounted for. Yesterday, his daughter, who lives in New Jersey, saw a newspaper picture of Domino being helped off a boat. The picture was taken on Monday night. So Domino seems to be OK, but right now no one knows where he is. There’s no information about his wife. (All the information in this entry is changing constantly, so keep looking.)

The R&B singer Irma Thomas, also missing for a while, sent a note to her unofficial website; she’s staying with family members in Gonzales, Louisiana.

Former Big Star and Box Tops leader Alex Chilton remains unaccounted for; according to a web discussion on the Posies’ home page, no one has spoken with Chilton since Monday.

The members of the Rebirth Brass Band are scattered across the South, and trumpet player Khabuki remains missing according to a post on their website. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band was touring when the hurricane hit New Orleans, and all of its members are safe, but many other musicians from the city’s brass band community remain missing.

Another musical community hit hard by the hurricane is New Orleans’ thriving metalcore scene. Soilent Green was touring, so they’re safe, but I haven’t been able to find any information on Goatwhore. According to a board on Eyehategod’s website, vocalist Michael D. Williams is missing, and the band’s webmaster is asking fans to send donations (“if drugs make sure they are great”).

One positive note may come from the disaster: New Orleans two rival rap labels, Master P’s No Limit Records and Baby Williams’ Cash Money Records, appear to have buried the hatchet; reports that they plan to collaborate on a record to benefit flood victims.’s rumor column reported a few days ago that Williams’ entire fleet of cars was destroyed, as was the home of former Cash Money artist Juvenile. Master P has told press that many of his family members are still missing and that much of his property is lost. Master P will appear on a BET telethon on September 9 to benefit flood victims along with Jay-Z, Juvenile, David Banner, and a number of other artists.

More Voice Coverage:
Anya Kamenetz – After Katrina: By the Waters of Babylon
Nick Sylvester – Katrina Destroys Music History Too

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 2, 2005

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