I guess it’s one of those things that comes with age. Our friends start dying off leaving us to ponder our own mortality. My friend Frank Hilson passed on a week or so ago, and today I discovered this…
One of my all-time favorite radio stations is WWOZ in New Orleans. I listened to it faithfully when I was living there. Next to Radio Baie des Anges in Nice, France, it played the best music in the world. Since I don’t have a television here in Boquerón I have to look for other ways to amuse myself. I’m an inveterate reader, but you can only do that for so many hours a day.
Recently I’ve been streaming WIOD in Miami to listen to the Dolphins games on Sunday. Thirty four to fourteen over the Raiders yesterday to bring their season record up to four big wins! This evening I hooked into NPR to listen to “All Things Considered.” Of course the first thing I heard was one of the station’s endless “begathon” messages. Then, for some reason, I decided to check out WWOZ and I found this on the station’s site home page:
Coco collapsed on Friday, Nov. 25 at the Apple Barrel on Frenchmen Street and was taken away by ambulance. He was pronounced dead after arriving at Tulane Medical Center. He was 64.
He was not performing at the time he was stricken; he often held court outside the Apple Barrel on his off-nights.
Known for an especially gravelly voice, a swamp-blues guitar style and a fascination with subjects of a spiritual and/or mystical nature, Mr. Robicheaux lived an especially colorful life, even by the standards of a New Orleans musician.
He released several albums over the past two decades. He was a mainstay of the Frenchmen Street entertainment district, a familiar figure both on- and off-stage, even as he also performed around the globe.
Mr. Robicheaux made a memorable appearance during the opening scene of the second episode of the first-season of the HBO series “Treme”: He sacrificed a rooster in the studio of community radio station WWOZ-FM.
He was also a visual artist, sculptor and painter. He created the bronze bust of Professor Longhair that stands near the entrance of Tipitina’s.
True to the spirit of New Orleans Coco, whose real name was Curtis Arceneaux led a colorful life. You should take the time to read about it here: http://blog.nola.com/entertainment_impact_music/print.html?entry=/2011/11/coco_robicheaux_rushed_from_ap.html
Back in 1983/84 when I lived on First Street (between Baronne and Dryades) Coco was my upstairs neighbor. I remember when he cast the bronze bust of the Fess. For a long time before it found its current home it was simply the most amazing door stop the world has ever seen. Coco Robicheaux was one of my favorite local friends. Many a night when he was working the door at Tips (before the World’s Fair closed the place down for a couple of years) Coco would let me slip in to see the Fess, The Nevilles, James Booker, Marcia Ball and others.
The world will be a sadder, drearier place without Coco in it. RIP Cher Ami.
I’m beginning not to like this getting older business.