Music Legend 'Fats' Domino Coping With Katrina

By Eli Saslow
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 2, 2005; 4:39 PM

BATON ROUGE, La., Sept. 2 -- New Orleans music legend Antoine "Fats" Domino survived Hurricane Katrina, but he's still unsure, he said Friday, about how he will survive its aftermath.

Domino spent the last three nights sleeping on a couch in the two-bedroom, Baton Rouge apartment of Louisiana State starting quarterback JaMarcus Russell, a distant family friend. Domino left that apartment Friday afternoon with his wife, two of his daughters and a son-in-law. He had no idea, he said, where he would go next.

"We've lost everything," Domino said. "I don't know what we're going to do."

Domino and his family waited out the storm on the third floor of his apartment in New Orleans, he said. The water level rose to about 15 feet, threatening the stability of the third floor. Rescue workers saved Domino, 77, late Monday night, taking him out of the city by boat.

They transported him to a shelter in Baton Rouge, where Domino and his family received anti-bacterial shots. After two hours at the shelter, Domino called Russell, who came to pick him up.

"Without JaMarcus, it would have been even worse," Domino said. "We can't thank him enough for letting us stay.

"I'm worried about all the people in New Orleans. Tell them I love them, and I wish I was home with them. I hope we'll see them soon," Domino said.

Russell has had more than 15 people stay in his off-campus apartment since the hurricane hit, he said. When Domino arrived, Russell ran out to Wal-Mart to buy food and water. He went to a drug store, he said, to fill prescriptions at 3 a.m.

The sophomore quarterback -- who had met Domino only once before, through his girlfriend -- said he had not slept for two days. He needed to get a hydrating IV during Thursday's practice of the LSU football team. The team's game against North Texas scheduled for Saturday has been canceled.

"Fats just stayed at my apartment, rested, watched the news," Russell said. "I've had people sleeping on the floor, the couch, everywhere. It's been pretty crazy."

Those closest to Domino had feared the R&B legend might not be okay.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, whose hit singles include "Blueberry Hill" and "Ain't That a Shame," did not contact anybody in the three days after the hurricane. His agent, Al Embry, reported him missing earlier this week, and concern about his fate grew until his daughter, Karen Domino White, said Thursday that she had recognized her father in a picture taken Monday by the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Domino wore jeans and a blue striped shirt, she said.

He was wearing the same outfit when he left Baton Rouge Friday afternoon.

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