Whether inspired by Fats Domino or mentored by him personally, local musicians are grieving an icon Wednesday while focusing on the legacy he'll leave behind.
Clarence "Frogman" Henry remembers the first time he met Fats Domino, after a set in a bar on Claiborne Avenue.
"It meant the world to me," Frogman said. "Me and Fats got together and we shook hands and I was just like a little child."
Frogman started out emulating the 'Father of Rock and Roll.'
"Those were the kind of songs that would stick with you," he said, remembering Fats Domino's music.
Then Frogman branched out on his own with Fats Domino's guidance and inspiration in the back of his mind.
"He will always be my idol from a kid until now," Frogman said.
A generation later, John Papa "Gros" felt the connection too.
"This is about as big as it gets of an icon in my lifetime," Gros said.
Packing up for tour, Gros feels an obligation to keep Fats Domino's spirit alive.
"His music is timeless," Gros said. "It represents everything New Orleans is about; that we celebrate from birth to death and he just really encapsulates everything that we are."
While the legend is now gone, what he created continues.
"The tradition is long and deep that Fats started," Gros said.
Generations of artists inspired by Fats continue to play and the music lives on.
"It will be here forever," Frogman said. "Fats Domino is New Orleans."
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