Monday, October 17, 2005

Fats Domino on Saturday visited his home in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans for the first time since he and his wife were rescued from Hurricane Katrina's rising floodwaters by boat. His pink, yellow and lavender house was in shambles. Amid the destruction, the rock-and-roll pioneer found his white grand piano overturned and his few remaining gold records muddied. People had spray-painted tributes on his house.

"There was a big 'Rest in Peace' on my balcony," Domino told Associated Press with a laugh. "I'm still here, thank God. I'm alive and kicking."

Only three of his 21 gold records were recovered -- "Rose Mary," "I'm Walkin'," and "Blue Monday." As for the others, the 77-year-old musician said, "Well, somebody got the rest of them."

"Or they may be floating around here somewhere," suggested Domino's son-in-law, Charles Brimmer .

Domino and Brimmer found jewelry, a favorite shirt and an unbroken bust. A picture of Domino with Elvis Presley was "too messed up, we couldn't salvage it," Brimmer said.

Domino took a break from the difficult task to speak with well-wishers and pose for pictures. "I sure do appreciate that people think so much about me," he said. "I don't know what to do, move somewhere else or something, but I like it down here."

His family is staying at a hotel in New Orleans.

In Step With Nature

Marcia and Ken Powers reached the Pacific Ocean on Saturday after a 4,900-mile cross-country hike, becoming the first people to backpack the transcontinental American Discovery Trail in one continuous trek. The husband-and-wife team started Feb. 27 at Cape Henlopen in Delaware and finished nearly eight months later -- in time for their son's Nov. 11 wedding in San Francisco. Their epic trek ended at Point Reyes, Calif.

"We feel great. We're done," Marcia Powers said after reaching the ocean a day ahead of schedule. "We are a little bit sad that a great adventure is over."

The Pleasanton, Calif., couple traversed cities, desert, mountains and farmland as they crossed 13 states. Their fastest pace was 21½ miles a day, which the couple says was no big deal. "We're not out for records," Marcia Powers told the Associated Press. Carrying 24-pound packs, they overcame such obstacles as deep snow in the East, quicksand in Utah, lightning strikes in the Midwest and blinding desert sandstorms in the West.

"The chance happenings out there with people are amazing," Marcia Powers said.

End Notes

· Al Roker , NBC "Today" show weatherman, is making a dog reality TV show. Roker is working with celebrity dog trainer Tamar Geller on the show, which will use cameras to expose the hidden life of dogs. To add drama, the pets will undergo obedience training, provided by Geller herself. No word yet on whether Paris Hilton's Tinker Bell will have a starring roll -- if the show is sold to a network.

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