Harris Rea. Photo: Shivemagazine.com

Harris Rea, Louisiana Red Hot Records Founder, Passes

Harris “Lee” Rea, founder of Louisiana Red Hot Records, died on May 11, 2017 at MD Anderson Hospital in Houston, TX after a long battle with leukemia. He is survived by his wife, children and stepchildren.


Originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, Rea moved to New Orleans in 1968 to attend Tulane University, where he fell in love with New Orleans and its rich and diverse musical culture.  In 1996, Harris founded Louisiana Red Hot Records in New Orleans, which became a leader among Southern independent labels in marketing and worldwide distribution. Harris received the Cutting Edge Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015 and Louisiana Red Hot was named Record Label of the Year by OffBeat at the Best of the Beat Awards in 2016. Rea also created Big Easy Distribution Company, a wholesaler that specialized in distributing Louisiana music worldwide.

Louisiana Red Hot Records will stay dedicated to independent musicians and Louisiana music under the leadership of Rea’s wife, CEO Carmen Sunda, and general manager Lilli Lewis. Please feel free to contact Lewis at for any questions and concerns.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to leukemia research at MD Anderson Hospital in Houston. A Celebration of Life will be held at Munholland Methodist Church, 1201 Metairie Road, Metairie, La. 70005 on Tuesday June 6, 2017 at 2pm. Updates will be posted at www.beresfordfunerals.com