If this was a normal Mother’s Day, we’d be taking our moms to brunch at famous New Orleans restaurants. We’d be going to see Irma Thomas at her annual Mother’s Day concert at Audubon Zoo. We’d be picnicking and taking multi-generational pics on the stone bridges at City Park.
Next year, right?
Everything may be closed this year, but our hearts are still open and we still need to celebrate mom. Join us as we remember five women who made the musicians who make New Orleans music.
Amelia Landry Neville
Before there was The Neville Brothers, there was “the Neville mother.” Amelia Landry Neville changed New Orleans music forever by giving birth to Aaron, Art, Charles, Cyril and Ivan. Aaron once said, “My Momma, Amelia Landry Neville, always taught the golden rule to us—to treat others as we would like to be treated. One of her favorite sayings was this: ‘I’ll only pass this way once. Therefore any goodness or kindness I can show let me do it now.” Sounds like mom knew a thing or two.
We lost jazz great Ellis Marsalis to Coronavirus this year, but he wasn’t the only one responsible for the jazz dynasty. His wife Dolores, who preceded him in death in 2017, was the mother of six sons: Branford, Wynton, Ellis III, Delfeayo, Mboya and Jason (she had 15 grandchildren as well). Ellis said he started dating Dolores because “she was one of the few girls who that I knew who actually liked jazz." Good thing because there must have been a lot of practicing at that house.
The youngest of Marie-Donatille Gros Domino’s children grew up to become the King of Rock ’n Roll. Antoine “Fats” Domino came from a musical family (his father Antoine, Sr. was a violinist at the race track.) And here’s some interesting trivia: At one time Marie-Donatille and her husband Antoine lived at Laura Plantation.
Naomi Neville Toussaint
Allen Touissaint grew up in a shotgun house in Gert Town with two siblings, a trumpet-playing father, and his mother Naomi Neville (no relation to the Neville Brothers). They say Naomi fed all manner of musicians who would come to play with her son. Mother and son must have been close because Touissaint used the pseudonym “Naomi Neville” for songwriting credits in the 1950s and 1960s.
Harry Connick, Jr. lost his mother Anita when he was just a child. “I still miss my mother,” he once told People Magazine “I had 13 years with her – they were profoundly influential years on me and that’s what my life is.” Imagine how proud Anita would’ve been of her son who grew up to become the father of three kids of his own with wife Jill Goodacre.
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