NEW ORLEANS- As "Walking to New Orleans" played in front of Fats Domino's 9th Ward home, fans and friends gathered around, brought flowers, even a memorable photo of Domino with Elvis Presley, paying tribute to a legend.
"Together they conquered the world," Don Bartholomew said.
Don Bartholomew, son of Fats Domino's friend and collaborator Dave Bartholomew, stood in front of the home on Wednesday. Like many across the world, his family is heartbroken.
"My dad loved Fats. Loved Fats dearly. Not just because he was an artist and a songwriter with him but as a friend and more like a brother to him, and we're very hurt at this moment," Bartholomew said.
Trumpeter James Andrews couldn't remember life without Domino being a part of it.
"It goes so far back in my family with my uncles. Walter Papoose Nelson and he played guitar with Fats Domino.
So did my grandfather Ooh Poo Pah Doo Jessie Hill," Andrews said.
Domino changed the wave of music as one of the pioneers of Rock n' Roll, breaking records and color barriers. Inspiring not just New Orleans musicians, but artists across the world.
"We learned a lot from Fats. I had the chance to go to the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame when they inducted him and Dave Bartholomew, Fats Domino together in the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame. And we was there to be a part of the show," Andrews said.
"Losing him is like losing my father again. It just hurts," Richard Allen said.
Allen's father, Raymond Allen, grew up with Domino in the 9th Ward.
"Everybody loved him!! You couldn't help but love him," Allen said.
Allen says Domino was not only skilled on the piano, but also in the kitchen.
"Him and my aunt were so close they exchanged recipes. My aunt gave Fat a recipe for rum cake. He perfected it better than her," Allen said.
As the community gathers to say goodbye, they do so knowing Domino may be gone physically, but his music and legacy live on forever.
"We know that Fats is playing piano in heaven," Bartholomew said.
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