in memoriam

This week, the 77-year-old New Orleans songwriter, producer and arranger Allen Toussaint died after a concert in Madrid. For most of his career, Toussaint preferred working behind the scenes, but our friend Gwen Thompkins met him at a time when he'd thrown himself into performing extensively around the world. Before they parted ways for what would be the last time, Toussaint gave Thompkins a gift: a demo recording of a song he never got to release, but said he wanted the world to hear.

Allen Toussaint.

This week, we learned that Allen Toussaint died after performing at a concert Monday in Madrid. He was 77 years old. Toussaint had toured extensively since Hurricane Katrina, but he was, in many ways, a reluctant performer. He preferred his life behind the scenes in the studio — writing, producing, and arranging songs. A disciple of Professor Longhair, Toussaint seemed to understand what New Orleans music could do for the world.

"Man, in New Orleans we really are fortunate — we got some of the best things in the world," Chef Paul Prudhomme once said. "And one of those things is the muffuletta sandwich."

And one of the best things about New Orleans was Prudhomme himself.

He was known for introducing blackened redfish to the rest of us, for his cooking demos and for his line of magic spices. Needless to say, Prudhomme changed the way the world saw Louisiana cooking.

He has died at the age of 75.

Eileen Fleming / WWNO

Paul Prudhomme, the internationally-known New Orleans chef and restaurateur, has died. He was 75.

Prudhomme popularized Cajun and Creole cooking in the 1980’s. His death was confirmed by his restaurant, K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen, according to WWL-TV.

“Steven Vincent epitomized what it meant to be a Louisiana State Trooper. When you talk about courtesy, loyalty and service – that was him!” Louisiana State Police Commander Mike Edmonson said, his voice husky with unshed tears.

Senior Trooper Steven Vincent is being laid to rest tomorrow, following a noon mass at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Church in Lake Charles. He was killed in the line of duty, after stopping to render assistance.

“His time in service at the Louisiana legislature was always about the wants and needs of the people he served,” says Representative Katrina Jackson, Chairman of Louisiana's Legislative Black Caucus, of Representative Alfred C. Williams. 

Singer Percy Sledge, perhaps best known for his hit "When A Man Loves A Woman," has died, Artists International Management Inc., his talent agency, said.

Sledge died of natural causes a little after midnight at a hospice in East Baton Rouge, La., according to a coroner. The coroner said Sledge was 74, though the Encyclopedia of Music as well as his talent agency says Sledge was 73.

Jesse Hardman / WWNO

Last Sunday, longtime sound engineer Bill Deputy died of lung cancer at the age of 58. Deputy served as All Things Considered’s technical director for many years, and traveled all over the world capturing sound, including the first Mardi Gras after Hurricane Katrina in 2006.

Bill Deputy was All Things Considered's guardian of sound. An engineer and the show's technical director for many years, Deputy died Sunday of lung cancer in New Orleans at the age of 58.

Sound was a serious business for Bill. When he wasn't combining words and sound with music in the All Things Considered control room, he was traveling with us on assignments. We worked together everywhere from Baltimore to Gaza City, and his assignments with my colleagues were equally far-flung.

National World War II Museum

Thomas Blakey, the 94-year-old veteran who volunteered at the National World War II Museum for 15 years, passed away at his New Orleans home on Jan. 15.

The National World War II Museum in New Orleans is many things to many people. For the hundreds of school kids and other visitors who pass through, the museum is where they learn about an incomprehensible scene from world history. And for the World War II veterans who volunteer each day, the museum is where they confront war memories in a variety of different ways.