Fats Domino was finally rescued last night in New Orleans, according to wire reports. And Irma Thomas, the Queen of New Orleans soul, has reported in from Baton Rouge, where she escaped to the home of her aunt.
Both music legends had been missing yesterday. This column broke that story in the morning, at around 6 a.m. The news outlets picked up the story and made it their own. In the end, the whole point was to get the word out. And it worked.
Rescuers picked up the legendary 77-year-old musician from his home in a flooded section of New Orleans and delivered him to safety, his daughter Karen Domino White reported.
Thanks also to Jason Hughes in Gov. Blanco’s office in Baton Rouge. His efforts, at our request, expedited what was turning into a terrible situation. Luckily, Jason had gone to school with two of Domino’s grandchildren, and felt a personal attachment to the story.
How is it that a member of the Rock Hall of Fame could have gotten stuck in New Orleans when most luminaries evacuated early? The answer is: easy.
Domino had told his agent, Al Embry, on Monday that he planned to ride out Hurricane Katrina at his home in the 9th Ward.
Both Embry and I feared the worst on Tuesday when it was clear that the 9th Ward was filled with water. It didn’t seem possible Domino could have survived. But it turned out to be a happy ending.
For Thomas, “time” was really on her side. The original singer of the Rolling Stones hit, Thomas is considered one of New Orleans’ crown jewels. Hopefully, when these performers have recovered from their ordeals, they’ll be invited to play at one of the celebrity telethons scheduled in coming weeks.
The great New York club CBGB’s held a concert vigil in New York’s Washington Square Park this week.
Despite pleas from Mayor Bloomberg, and a show put on by Blondie and other groups, CGBG’s lease has expired and the landlord says it won't be renewed.
The landlord, Bowery Residents Committee, refuses to negotiate a new lease even though CBGB’s recently won a court case against them.
The villain in this piece is Lawrence "Muzzy" Rosenblatt, director of the homeless shelter and hospital that took over CBGB’s lease a couple of years ago.
To Rosenblatt, the efforts of the mayor, as well as other club supporters like "Little" Steve van Zandt (of "The Sopranos" and Springsteen fame), are not enough. He wants the club out and a higher-paying tenant like Old Navy or Starbucks in.
The only recourse for CBGB’s is to shame the better directors of the BRC board into doing the right thing.
They include New York Times writer Julie Salamon — who covers the arts, of all things — as well as Genevieve Chow of JP Morgan Chase; attorney Jeffrey B. Rosen of the law firm Arent, Fox, Kintner, Plotkin, & Kahn; Marcy E. Wilkov of American Express; and attorney Simon Miller of the law firm Greenberg Traurig — a firm that specializes in making money off the music industry.
Do these people really want their firms to be remembered as the people who shut down CBGB?
Of course, as I reported a couple of weeks ago, the board has a serious conflict of interest on its hands. The Bowery Residents Committee, which with a $25 million war chest is no small-time operation, has listed the property to be shown by Cushman and Wakefield.
Alex Cohen, of C&W, is, coincidentally, on the board. And none of this explains the position of Seedco, the group that helped BRC raise their initial money and remains an important tax-free contributor.
One of Seedco’s missions, according to its Web site, is to further small arts organizations in downtown New York.