Marva Wright Dies

This has become a terrible month for Louisiana music. In recent weeks, we’ve reported on the passings of Rockie Charles, Alex Chilton, Bunchy Johnson, and this morning we learned of Marva Wright’s passing. Wright suffered two strokes last summer, one in mid-May and a more debilitating one in June. She was living with a daughter in New Orleans East when she died as a result of complications from the strokes. She was 62.

Wright sang all her life starting as a child at home and in church, but she didn’t start her professional career as a blues singer until 1987 when she began singing on Bourbon Street. Though the venues changed size and location throughout her career, her warmth, passion and vocal power made every gig seem like a club gig – a little intimate, a little rowdy, and timeless. She will be missed.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grMjCpHQaUM[/youtube]

  • walter

    RIP-wonderful singer and an even greater person. Saw her perform many times and she never failed to astonish and please.

    As an aside-What is up with that first sentence though? We get it-folks are dying but that lede is low rent. Rewrite please!

  • george French

    Good people. I know this for a fact. Rest in peace Ms Marva.

  • Markeeta

    I'm afraid to click on the “Heartbreakin' Woman” video because I know I'll just start sobbing again. I just hope that everyone in New Orleans — even younger ones interested in “more progressive” genres than blues and gospel — realize how much the city owes her. My first JF in 1990 opened my eyes to so much wonderful music, but it was Marva that was the biggest draw for many years. She helped spark a love for this city that led me to spend at least 160 days of vacation time in NOLA over the next 20 years. Whenever I came, I went to see her if she was playing, but I also went to see a lot of other musicians live, bought a lot of CDs, ate lots of wonderful food and spent a lot of dollars in hotels. I love the whole city, but it was the MUSIC — beginning with Marva's — that kept me coming back. (I hope the politicians & developers that don't accept that the music — of all kinds — is what fuels most of the repeat-visit tourism sees this.) It's ironic that we're all eagerly awaiting the premiere of “Treme.” Does anyone remember that long-ago NOLA-based show that starred Larry Hagman and lasted for a season or less? David Torkanowsky produced the music for it, and every segment began with a close-up of a different New Orleans musician. Marva was the musician featured on the pilot episode, so it was her glowing face and soul-stirring voice that opened the entire series. I saw a man's cap at JF early in the '90s that said, “The blues healed me.” Marva's voice and music healed me. I like to think of her today as strutting around in her best Glitter-Queen clothes and most intricate weave singing “Walk Around Heaven.” God bless her for all of the joy she brought to so many people.