NEW ORLEANS - Fresh off the heels of a spectacular New Orleans concert honoring his musical mentor, Professor Longhair, actor and musician Hugh Laurie was announced Friday evening as the 2014 monarch of the Krewe of Bacchus.
The British actor, best known for his portrayal of Dr. Gregory House on “House,” will reign as Bacchus XLVI when the parade rolls on Sunday, March 2, the krewe announced.
Laurie was in town Thursday for a benefit concert at Tipitina's.
In addition to his musical career, during his "House" TV series run, Laurie received six Emmy nominations, two Golden Globe awards and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.
“Mr. Laurie has a great sense of humor and we think he will be a perfect fit for Mardi Gras,” said krewe captain Owen “Pip” Brennan in a statement. “We predict the Mardi Gras crowds will love him.”
Laurie joins a list of celebrities to portray Bacchus, the god of wine, at the head of the super krewe’s parade, including popular recent monarchs Will Ferrell, Drew Brees and James Gandolfini. Last year’s Bacchus was actor G.W. Bailey. Favorite Bacchus monarchs throughout the krewe’s 45 year history include Bob Hope, Perry Como, Jackie Gleason, Phil Harris and Ed McMahon among others.
In addition to his benefit performance Thursday in New Orleans, at Tipitina’s, in recent years, Laurie has explained his love for New Orleans and New Orleans music, and Professor Longhair in particular. His 2011 album, “Let Them Talk,” was partly recorded in New Orleans and formed the basis for a PBS “Great Performances” special broadcast last year.
Laurie even includes a version of Professor Longhair’s classic “Tipitina” on his newest CD, “Didn’t It Rain.”
Thursday’s “Fess Fest” musical fundraiser was organized by the Tipitina’s Foundation, which has spent the past several years working with volunteer groups and the United Way to rehab Professor Longhair’s Terpsichore St. home, the only home the music icon ever owned. Plans call for a portion of the renovated home to serve as a museum to “Fess” and the New Orleans music he gave birth to.