I think everybody is still in shock. I’m pretty sure that I am.
You know the story. Allen Toussaint passed in Spain after playing what would be his final concert. By all accounts, he was healthy, happy and enjoying himself while he played his songs for his fans. I wrote most of this on the day after he died.
To my mind, and to the minds of most of us, he was one of the most important people in the New Orleans musical world, along with Louis Armstrong and Fats Domino. They all changed music. His work transcended genre. The memorial sort of proved that. After all, how often do you see Trombone Shorty, Elvis Costello and Jimmy Buffett on the same stage? At the same time?
Sheesh. How often do you see Jimmy Buffett wearing long pants?
But, this post isn’t about big name international level musicians. It’s about a little of what I saw. It’s also about my attempt to honor a man — two men, you’ll see in a few lines — with my way of seeing. After all, every possible local and regional visual media was on the scene. They can out gear me, but I’ll be damned if they are going to out shoot me. You know that normally I’m not competitive with other photographers, but when I feel outnumbered by like — oh, let’s say 30 to 1 — my old competitive nature sort of pops up again.
So, I hung with them until it was time. Then… when they turned left, I turned right. Besides, as I was preparing to go out for this, I received word that Chuck Scott — a legendary professor at Ohio University had just passed. He was directly responsible for how I think photographically. Maybe how I try to live a balanced life between work and home life. I’m not the only one. I can’t even begin to count how many young photojournalists he influenced over the years. I will add that he had been ill for a long time and still he was 91 years old when he passed. He didn’t die out on the road in some hotel room. He passed quietly at home with family and friends who were there for him.
The pictures. They don’t need explanation. They are what I saw. Except for the blue Rolls Royce. That might need a few words. That was Allen Toussaint’s car. Well, one of two. They were matching cars. One blue. One deep red. They were older models. He loved driving around the city in them.
So. That’s it. Well, except for two things.
And, the most important.
RIP Allen Toussaint.
RIP Chuck Scott.