NEW ORLEANS – Barry Cowsill, a member of the popular 1960s singing family The Cowsills, was found dead on a wharf nearly four months after he disappeared when Hurricane Katrina flooded the city. He was 51.
Cowsill's body, recovered Dec. 28 from the Chartres Street Wharf, was identified with dental records Tuesday, said Dr. Louis Cataldie, head of the state hurricane morgue in Carville.
The coroner had not determined the cause of death but believed it was related to the devastating storm, which struck the city Aug. 29.
Cowsill, who lived on and off in New Orleans, had not been heard from since he left phone messages for his sister Sept. 1, his family's Web site said.
"They tell us he'd been dead for quite some time," Richard Cowsill, his brother, said in a telephone interview Thursday. "We love him and we're going to miss him, but he's in a much better place, in my mother's arms."
The Cowsills — the inspiration for the TV series "The Partridge Family," recorded a series of top hits between 1967 and 1970, including "The Rain, The Park and Other Things" and "Hair." They also were spokespersons for the American Dairy Association, appearing in commercials and print ads for milk.
Four Cowsill brothers played in the band: Barry on bass, Bill on guitar, Bob on guitar and organ, and John on drums. Their mother, Barbara, and little sister, Susan, eventually joined the group.
The Cowsills got their start in Newport, R.I., where by 1965 they had a regular gig at a club. They were spotted by a producer for NBC's "Today" show who booked them for an appearance that led to a record deal.
The band broke up in the 1970s, amid acrimony that left some members estranged from each other for several years.
"It wasn't just the end of a business, it was the end of a family," Bob Cowsill said in a 1990 interview.
Barbara Cowsill died in 1985.
In addition to his siblings, Cowsill is survived by two daughters and a son.
Richard Cowsill said no memorial service was planned and that his brother would be cremated. "He always said when I leave this place, you better party. And that's what we're planning to do," he said.