Allen was a dear soul that touched the lives of many. My daughter and I especially. Today, we miss you as a family. May the four winds blow you safely home.
From My Daughter Reya
I was 13 years old when I got my first Allen Toussaint record. I remember it was raining. It was December in San Francisco. I remember holding the black and white record sleeve under my jacket so it wouldn’t get wet and sitting anxiously in the backseat of my mothers car with it on my lap, staring at it for an hour before we got home.
When I finally put the needle on the record it was like everything just kind of fell into place. I was suddenly aware of a world I had never known existed before and it made me desperate to go to New Orleans. When I finally got there, it was like that record came to life and there was no going back.
When I met Allen Toussaint, I was shaking so badly I could barely get words to come out, but he was incredibly gentle and kind and we eventually got to talking about WWOZ and New Orleans in general. He told me he was glad I’d found New Orleans. He said I was doing good things. I can’t imagine what New Orleans feels like today, but I know whatever hurt I’m feeling must be felt 10-fold on the streets. I wish I could be there to see that second line. I wish I could be there to hear his music flooding the streets, the way I know that it will.
I guess all that’s left is to say thank you. Thank you, Mr. Toussaint, for changing the course of my life and so many others. Thank you for making music that inspires, for producing the funkiest records of all time, and for introducing me to my home.