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Pete Fountain, 86

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The clarinetist, a member of the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, was ambassador of New Orleans and its spirited music.

"If I had grown up in any place but New Orleans, I don't think my career would have taken off. I wouldn't have heard the music that was around this town. "

- Pete Fountain
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Fountain brought his brand of swinging jazz to a wider audience by playing national television programs, including a regular gig on the “The Lawrence Welk Show.” Here, he is on “The New Steve Allen Show” set with singer Sandy Stewart.

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Fountain picked up the clarinet after a doctor told him that playing it might strengthen his weak lungs. A high school student by day, at night he played out at New Orleans’ jazz clubs, calling himself a graduate of the Conservancy of Bourbon Street.

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Fountain performed nationally and spent two years in Los Angeles, but he preferred to be home in New Orleans, where he lived with his wife, Beverly, and their family. He founded the Half-Fast Walking Club, a popular early-morning costumed parade on Mardi Gras, and was a favorite at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Music Festival, as seen here in 2013. He died in August of heart failure.

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