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Fats Domino Piano Enshrined in New Orleans Old Mint

Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne will unveil Fats Domino’s newly-restored white Steinway grand piano today at 4:30 p.m. at the Old U.S. Mint in New Orleans.

Heavily damaged during Hurricane Katrina, the piano was salvaged from Domino’s Ninth Ward home and restored with $30,000 in donations to the Louisiana Museum Foundation from music fans worldwide. The largest gift of $18,000 came from Allan Slaight, a retired music producer in Miami with other major gifts from Sir Paul McCartney, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Tipitina’s Foundation.

Louisiana State Museum staff members recover Fats Domino’s white Steinway grand piano from the musician’s Ninth Ward home following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. (Photo: Chris Granger, Times-Picayune)

Domino’s family has loaned the piano to the Museum to share with the public. His daughters—Adonica Domino, Anola Hartzog, Andrea Brimmer and Antoinette Smith—and other family members, will participate in the unveiling and donor recognition ceremony. The piano will go on public display at the Mint next month. A second Steinway piano belonging to Domino is on permanent display at the Presbytère in the exhibition Living with Hurricanes: Katrina and Beyond.

“Fats Domino is a seminal figure in American music and he will have a prominent place in the coming Louisiana music exhibit,” Lt. Governor Dardenne said. “His beautiful grand piano, fully restored, will serve as the perfect symbol for Louisiana’s resilient nature and ever-evolving musical heritage.”

The grand piano will become the centerpiece of the Louisiana State Museum’s permanent music exhibition that’s expected to open in late 2014. Featuring multimedia displays and iconic artifacts from the Museum’s world-renowned music collection, the exhibit will offer visitors an encounter with Louisiana music in all its variety—from classical to zydeco. The 9,400-square-foot exhibit space occupies the entire second floor of the Mint, and is more than double the space of the former jazz museum which was dismantled in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina caused extensive damage to the building. The Mint has since undergone major renovations, including the addition of a state-of-the-art performance space for live music, student and adult education programs and other exhibit-related events.