Family, fans gather for Allen Toussaint funeral, tribute
NEW ORLEANS - It was a rousing final tribute to New Orleans-born musician Allen Toussaint: Trombone Shorty joined the Preservation Hall Jazz Band in a spirited, up-tempo version of "I'll Fly Away" to close out a series of performances and eulogies at the historic Orpheum theater in New Orleans.
Toussaint died earlier this month of a heart attack following a performance in Madrid, Spain. WWL-TV reports that tributes from around the world poured in following the death of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Grammy award winner and composer of some of the most enduring songs tied to the Big Easy. He was 77.
Another New Orleans legend, percussionist and vocalist Cyril Neville of The Meters, opened the tribute program by performing the Aaron Neville tune “Let’s Live.” Remarks by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, thanking Toussaint for being a source of inspiration, followed.
Jimmy Buffett, Boz Scaggs and Elvis Costello joined New Orleans favorites including Irma Thomas, Davell Crawford, John Boutte and Dr. John in the Friday tribute.
One of the most touching moments: a recording of Toussaint himself singing a soulful "Take Me the Rest of the Way."
A private burial is set for Saturday.
Public visitation was held at the recently restored theatre from 8 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. with musical performances starting at 11 a.m.
The services were broadcasted live via local radio station WWOZ’s website.
WWL-TV says Toussaint’s family, which includes four children, one step-child and six grandchildren, have asked that donations in the musician’s memory be made to New Orleans Artists Against Hunger and Homelessness, a charity Toussaint helped to found in the 1980s. Donations can be sent c/o Loyola University, Campus Box 12, New Orleans, LA 70118.