Katrina: Fats Domino Is Missing in New Orleans

Blues legend Fats Domino, who found his thrill on Blueberry Hill, is missing in New Orleans along with his entire family.

Fats Domino Is Missing in New Orleans (AP)

Fats Domino was missing Thursday, days after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, said his longtime agent, Al Embry. Embry told The Associated Press that he hadn’t been able to contact Domino since talking to him Sunday evening by phone. The 77-year-old R&B legend, whose real name is Antoine Domino, told Embry that he planned to stay at his New Orleans house with his wife, Rosemary, and their daughter.

“I hope somebody turns him up, but as of right now, we haven’t got anybody that knows where he’s at,” said Embry, who has worked with Domino for 28 years. “I would think he might be safe because somebody said he was on top of the balcony.”

Checquoline Davis, Domino’s niece, posted a message on Craigslist.com Thursday pleading for information. Davis wrote that Domino, his wife, their children and grandchildren “didn’t get out” of the second floor. Domino, who has rarely appeared in public in recent years, has a home in the 9th ward, a low-lying area of the flooded city.


Domino has sold more than 110 million records in his long career, including the legendary singles “Blueberry Hill” and “Ain’t That a Shame.” His 1950 recording of “The Fat Man” is sometimes called the first real rock ‘n’ roll record. He was among the first honorees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Of course, there are probably hundreds of families in the area hit by Katrina who don’t know whether loved ones are alive or dead. Let’s hope the Dominoes are just unable to get to a working phone and otherwise alright.

Update (2208): Thankfully, this one has a happy ending:

Fats Domino found OK in New Orleans (CNN)

Photo: Rescuers help Fats Domino off a boat after he was rescued Monday from his New Orleans home. Rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Fats Domino was among the thousands of New Orleans residents plucked from rising floodwaters, his daughter said Thursday. Karen Domino White, who lives in New Jersey, identified her father in a picture taken Monday night by a New Orleans Times-Picayune photographer. The photograph shows Domino — the singer behind the 1950s hits “Ain’t That a Shame” and “Blueberry Hill” — being helped off a boat near his home in the city’s Lower 9th Ward.

His whereabouts since the rescue were not immediately known. Nor was there any information about his wife, Rosemary, friends said. The neighborhood was heavily flooded when a levee failed as Katrina slammed into southeastern Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Thousands are feared dead in the storm, Louisiana’s governor and the mayor of New Orleans have said, though no official tally has been compiled.

White said she last heard from her father August 23, four days before the storm hit, and was unable to contact him Sunday. “I didn’t have any information. I was just praying,” she said.

Writer Charles Amann said he last spoke to Domino on Sunday, and the singer refused to join the evacuation that was then under way. “He said to me, in that wonderful Southern accent of his, that no, he was staying on — that he had gone through the last one and he could go through this one,” said Amann, who is working on a book on the early days of the “American Bandstand” television program.

I haven’t thought about Fats Domino in years and don’t think I can name a song of his other than “Blueberry Hill” and “Ain’t that a Shame.” Still, in that sea of missing and dead people, even vaguely familiar names and faces stand out. Celebrity is a funny thing.

Editor’s note: As often happens in the Blogosphere, I had three comments noting that Domino had been found during the time I found the story myself and posted the update. Things move quick on the Internets.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. bryan says:

    Jeff Quinton noted recently that Fats has been found:


  2. cirby says:

    Little Green Footballs is reporting that he was seen climbing off a boat in the 9th Ward.

  3. Richard Gardner says:

    Fats Found (sort of)


    Fats Domino, who had been unaccounted for in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, was plucked from the flooded city by a rescue boat.
    His daughter, Karen Domino White, who lives in New Jersey, identified her father in a picture taken Monday night by a New Orleans Times-Picayune photographer. The singer is seen being helped from a boat by an emergency crew.

    There was no word on where he was taken. There was also no word on the whereabouts of family members that had been with him before the storm hit.

    I read this as saying he was seen getting rescued, but there has still been no contact with his family.

    This is a classic example of the confusion in the afflicted areas. The infrastructure is destroyed, so communications are down too.