In 2005, Hurricane Katrina swept across the Gulf Coast, devastating everything it touched and resulting in a final death toll of 1,833. For a short time, Fats Domino’s name was whispered as being among the casualties.
Even after the warnings to evacuate were given, Domino refused to leave his home in the Lower Ninth — partially, says the Independent, because his wife Rosemary was ill, and he didn’t want to move her. And partially, they say, “out of stubbornness.” Domino was ultimately evacuated, on September 1st — after the water had risen to a depth of 15 feet. After being plucked from his home, he was taken to the Superdome with other refugees. Almost shockingly, his worry about the whole thing was, well… in 2006, he told The New York Times, “I wasn’t too nervous. I had my little wine and a couple of beers with me; I’m all right.”
In the end, Domino lost everything in the hurricane floodwaters: From his gold records and his memorabilia to his home, it was all gone. Just a year later, he released his first new album in about 10 years. It was called “Alive and Kickin’,” a reference to the resilience of the city and his own survival, and part of the proceeds went to help other musicians. And, proving that all possessions can be replaced, President George W. Bush made it a point to visit him in 2006, and replace his National Medal of Arts.