Domino Visits Ninth Ward

Antoine "Fats" Domino paid a visit to New Orleans’ Ninth Ward March 9th to get a look at the progress being made on the restoration of his home.

Domino, 79, rode out Hurricane Katrina in the house and was reported missing by his family and agent, who only learned he had survived when they saw a photo of him in New Orleans’ Times-Picayune stepping out of a rescuer’s boat.

The singer’s home is being restored by the Tipitina’s Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to rebuilding New Orleans’ music community. After the 2005 storm, the foundation helped scores of musicians find housing and provided them with instruments to replace those lost in the disaster.

The foundation’s headquarters, the legendary club Tipitina’s Uptown, is at the center of its relief efforts, which include the Music Co-op Office. There, musicians can conduct business activities during the daytime, listen to free legal and accounting seminars, get free music lessons for music students, listen to regular master seminars and get help with housing.

Bill Taylor, executive director of the foundation, said he views the restoration of Domino’s house in the heavily devastated neighborhood – which some feel shouldn’t even be rebuilt – as doing more than just providing the singer with a place to live.

"This is not about just getting one guy back in his house," Taylor said. "It really is symbolic of this city coming back. There is hope down here now."

Taylor estimates the foundation will spend about $100,000 to restore Domino’s home, and expects the work to be completed by summer.