New Orleans celebrates jazz legend Pete Fountain’s life with memorial second line

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - First there were tears when New Orleans own Pete Fountain passed away last week. Then we celebrated with a second line commemorating the famed jazz clarinetist and his 60-year career.

"Everybody loved him, and everybody came out to celebrate this joyous occasion," says second line participant Deborah Johnson.

"We've been enjoying his music for generations. We love jazz from the ground up. We're really big jazz fans from birth,” says second line participant Estelle Deverges.

Hundreds of fans marched alongside Fountain's half-fast walking club as the group has done since Fat Tuesday in 1960.

From the St. Louis Cathedral they went all the way down Royal Street to Hotel Monteleone, where family members and friends gathered for one final goodbye.

"He represents the best of New Orleans, so it was a very sad day for his family, but as they say 'joy cometh in the morning,' so as only we can do in New Orleans, we're celebrating this as an ongoing situation and giving joy to the rest of the city," says New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu.

Pete Fountain battled health problems in recent years and retired from performing in 2014.

He was 86 years old.