in memoriam

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Bob French was one of the legends of New Orleans' jazz. French was a drummer and singer, and bandleader of the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band. He died Monday of complications from diabetes. He was 74.

Imagine a lawyer's lawyer, a fighter's fighter and a pol's pol. Now imagine one person as all three. That was Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who died Sunday at age 82.

Over the course of three decades in the U.S. Senate (1981-2011), Specter came to personify the pragmatic, independent operator who sized up the substance and politics of every issue for himself. His vote could be one of the hardest to get, and often the one that made the difference.

Sen. Arlen Specter Dies at 82

Oct 14, 2012

Arlen Specter, the outspoken senator who started off Republican, switched to Democrat and stayed moderate throughout, has died, the AP reports.

The former five-term senator from Pennsylvania announced that he was once again battling cancer in August. He died at his home in Philadelphia on Sunday, according to his son, Shanin, from complications of non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

In recognition of the anniversary of Sept. 11, Gov. Bobby Jindal has ordered flags at all state buildings to be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset.

Jindal's executive order says the move Tuesday is "an expression of respect for Louisiana's fallen civilian and service members who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001, and the days since to defend the United States of America."

The order, signed Monday, affects flags flown over the State Capitol and all public buildings and institutions of the state.

Joe South, who wrote such '60s and '70s hits as Games People Play and (I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden, died Wednesday of an apparent heart attack at his home in Buford, Ga. He was 72.

Fans gather to remember 'Uncle Lionel', New Orleans music icon

Jul 20, 2012

A burial service for a New Orleans music icon known simply as "Uncle Lionel" had to be postponed when a violent thunderstorm flooded the cemetery where he will be laid to rest.

But the foul weather didn't stop hundreds of fans, friends and neighbors from packing a theater for Lionel Batiste's funeral Friday, turning a somber ceremony into a fittingly raucous celebration of his life. The audience at the Mahalia Jackson Theater danced in the aisles and gave standing ovations to musicians paying tribute to Batiste.

When Billie Holiday died in 1959, thousands of mourners attended her funeral at St. Paul the Apostle Roman Catholic Church in New York City. The overflow crowd lined the sidewalks. Honorary pallbearers included such jazz greats as Benny Goodman and Mary Lou Williams. Newspapers and magazines ran heartfelt tributes.

Kitty Wells revolutionized country music by becoming its first big female solo star. Wells died today at home in Nashville, Tenn., of complications from a stroke. She was 92 years old.

Donald Sobol, the creator of the beloved character Encyclopedia Brown, died last week of natural causes, his family says. He was 87. The first in the Encyclopedia Brown series book was published in 1963, and the series has never gone out of print.

Crime novelist and forensic pathologist Jonathan Hayes has this appreciation of the character Sobol gave young readers.

While other boys got hooked on books about sports legends and race car drivers, there was something about Donald Sobol's boy detective Encyclopedia Brown that spoke to me right away.

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