A musician remembers Fats' generosity; Quint Davis calls Fats a genius

David Batiste playing and teaching the music of Fats Domino

A renowned local musician and cultural ambassador and the producer of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival reflected Wednesday on the legacy of Fats Domino.

"It was in his face that he loved what he was doing," said David Batiste of the Batiste Family and Gladiators fame.

He was in awe of Fats Domino the man, and Fats Domino the performer.

"A deep sadness to the whole musical community around the world," said Batiste.

Impromptu, he began playing some of Fats hits on a piano inside the Renew Cultural Arts Academy which is in partnership with the David Russell Batiste family.

He said Fats' showmanship influenced his own, on stage performances.

"Fats would bump the piano, he would just be bumping, this whole style of his… just all of that, all that lit me up and stuff, you know," said Batiste has he bumped the piano to make it move with his body.

Batiste said Fats' generosity helped to get the school going, which he said was initially called the Batiste Cultural Arts Academy.

"Fats was the first to donate to Renew-Batiste Cultural Arts Academy and to help to launch the program," Batiste said.

"There's no replacing Fats Domino, time doesn't, life doesn't go on about Fats," said Quint Davis, Producer and Director of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

Fats, as he was called, was a dear and close friend Davis.

"Hit me personally, in the gut, I mean something like Allen Toussaint, it's, it's, there's two people in the history of the world, of New Orleans, from New Orleans that changed the music of the world and that's Fats Domino and Louie Armstrong," said Davis.

Davis honored Fats' memory in his own way by wearing a pair of socks with dominoes on them.

"This is the one thing that I always had and I would wear them to the shows, and I would wear them over to house that came from that time and actually the shoes are in honor of him," said Davis.

Like his music, Fats' wardrobe dazzled.

"Yes, unbelievable, I mean not only the suits and the ties but his jewelry, I don't know of anybody in rock and roll that was as flamboyant as him with his jewelry," continued Davis.

Because Fats Domino was already a big star when the Jazz Festival started almost 50 years ago, Davis said getting Fats to play during the festival did not happen overnight.

"When we started we weren't big enough to have Fats Domino, I mean we weren't of that status…as soon as we could have Fats we did, you know, and I don't know how many times, 10 or more," said Davis.

He was close enough to visit with Fats at his 9th Ward home.

"He was a fantastic cook and he would cook cakes and go take them around the neighborhood," said Davis.

"Fats is right here in the front car, leading, leading us straight up to musical splendor," Batiste said as he pointed to a colorful mural blanketing a wall at the cultural arts academy.

He began teaching some students some of Fats' hits. He loved two of Fats' songs the most.

"Walking to New Orleans, yes indeed Walking to New Orleans and Hello Josephine, some of the stuff that ah, the rock-and-roll music that had soul and Fats had that class," said Batiste.

"He's a genius, you know, he was a savant to some extent," said Davis.