Fats Domino has been named honorary grand marshal of the Krewe of Orpheus, a super krewe that puts on one of the largest parades the day before Mardi Gras.
This is the first time the musician has agreed to participate in the parade. The 85-year-old rarely leaves his suburban New Orleans home where he’s lived since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
“It’s jaw-dropping,” said Michael Murphy, an officer for Orpheus. “It’s the biggest blessing that we could ever ask for. We are extremely honored.”
The Krewe of Orpheus was founded in 1993 by Harry Connick Jr. and Sonny Borey, who serves as the parade organization’s captain. Orpheus — named after the mortal son of Apollo and the muse Calliope — held their first parade on February 14, 1994, and was the first to include both men and women.
Fats Domino won’t ride in the March 3 parade, but his eldest son — Antoine Domino III — is expected to ride in his place on a float equipped with a piano and speakers to perform some of his father’s hits. Other family members are expected to throw coast-size gold-record doubloons from the float.
New Orleans artist Michael Hunt has designed a commemorative poster for the occasion, which will be autographed by Domino and available for purchase. He said he was honored to be part of the experience, but that it wasn’t an option for Domino to ride on the float.
“Riding in a parade is a lot more exhausting than people realize, especially when you’re throwing, not just waving,” Hunt said. “Very few of his age can do that. But what Orpheus has done rivals any celebrity sitting on a throne. This is going to be an interactive experience unlike anything that’s been done at Mardi Gras before. You’re going to get a Fats family reunion along with a live concert.
Mardi Gras is March 4, 2014. 1970s rock band Cheap Trick will headline the Orpheuscapade, the post-parade black-tie party that draws over 5,000 people each year. Other acts include Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and the Party Crashers.
Fats Domino said he hopes Mardi Gras attendees enjoy hearing his music during the parade.
[Image via Heinrich Klaffs]