Louisiana jazz great Pete Fountain dies at 86

PeteFountain2006

Legendary Louisiana clarinetist Pete Fountain died Saturday morning in New Orleans, his son-in-law Benny Harrell said. He was 86.

“He was a beautiful man,” Harrell told CNN.

The death of the jazz musician drew reaction from Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards.

“Mr. Fountain and his clarinet filled our streets, homes and hearts with music and joy,” Edwards said. “Throughout his extensive career, Mr. Fountain was always a proud ambassador for the City of New Orleans. Although he will be greatly missed, his warm and cheery disposition will live on in the music he left behind.”

Edwards noted that Fountain and his wife, Beverly, were together for 64 years. Fountain was the foundation in the early days of the New Orleans Jazz Fest, and he was such a musical force that his name often started stories about the Crescent City and its music.

Funeral arrangements were still being completed, but Harrell said to expect a traditional New Orleans second line to honor the music legend.

“Second line parades are the descendants of the city’s famous jazz funerals and, apart from a casket, mourners and a cemetery visit, they carry many of the same traditions with them as they march down the streets.” according to FrenchQuarter.com.

By Steve Visser