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Jazz News

Singing of New Orleans, Past and Future

For a time, legendary New Orleans musician Allen Toussaint was missing during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Since his recovery, the songwriter has been on a mission to play and record music honoring his city -- and helping it rebuild.

Toussaint has written hits for the Meters, Patti LaBelle and many others. He's probably best known for his hit "Working In the Coalmine." His work includes writing "Right Place, Wrong Time" for Dr. John.

A longtime New Orleans resident, Toussaint has been singing and playing piano in the city for more than 40 years. The owner of the Sea-Saint Recording Studios, Toussaint was one of many who sought to ride out the storm. Feared lost for several days, Toussaint made his way from the Superdome to New York.

Since the hurricane struck, Toussaint has been a tireless ambassador for the city, staging benefit shows in New York and elsewhere, including the Higher Ground Hurricane Benefit Relief Concert. During some of those shows, Toussaint shared the stage with Elvis Costello.

The pair decided to continue their collaboration, and a CD of their music, The River In Reverse, is due to come out in May. Toussaint was inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. He spoke to Terry from New Orleans on the day before Mardi Gras.

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