By JOHN E. BIALAS
Broadmoor Bureau Chief
The first time I saw Fats Domino’s New Orleans house was in 1974, when I was the editor and publisher of Boogie, a rock-music fanzine I printed at home.
I was 22 and fascinated with Fats for all he had done for rock and roll, and I hoped to show my appreciation. I had an ambitious plan: An interview with Fats at his home, just 75 miles from where I lived in Gulfport, Mississippi.
It would be a coup for Boogie and the envy of other fanzine editors and publishers nationwide. I figured I could get access.
I knew my way around New Orleans, where I would go shopping for records, and on one of my many trips, I had the good fortune of meeting a collector who gave me directions to Fats’ home.
Fats lived off St. Claude Avenue, about a block north of Puglia’s grocery, a Lower 9th Ward landmark bulldozed many years later.
It was the middle of a sunny summer afternoon, one in which I scored a slew of 44-cent bargain bin albums at the Canal Street Woolworth’s, when I saw Fats’ home.
It was a big old pink and white split-level place at Caffin Avenue and Marais Street.
I thought about stopping and knocking on the door. Didn’t do it. Too timid.
Fats probably wasn’t there anyway. Maybe he was out of town, playing Las Vegas. Hell, he had more than 70 concerts at the Flamingo in 1974.
I got his 9th Ward address and when I got home, I wrote him a letter on my custom-made yellow and black Boogie stationary. The letter was an interview request.
The interview never happened. It was a fantasy and the reality was my letter went unanswered.