The Louisiana Museum Foundation has a campaign to restore the Steinway grand piano salvaged from Fats Domino’s flooded 9th Ward home following Hurricane Katrina. The stunning white piano will be restored to its original appearance to become the centerpiece of LSM’s comprehensive Louisiana Music Exhibition which is slated to open in 2013.
Born in New Orleans in 1928, pianist, singer and songwriter Antoine “Fats” Domino ultimately sold more records (65 million) than any Fifties-era rocker besides Elvis. Between 1950 and 1963, Domino made Billboard’s pop chart 77 times and its R&B chart 61 times. He made more hit records than Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Buddy Holly put together, and his first single, “The Fat Man,” went to #2 nationally, sold a million copies and is considered by some music historians to be the first rock and roll record. He is a seminal figure in popular music history who will be heavily featured in the exhibit. His beautiful grand piano, fully restored, will serve as the perfect symbol for Louisiana’s expansive and sumptuous musical heritage.
The piano’s condition has been stabilized, but the instrument was heavily damaged by the flood. It is covered with mold, mildew and flood residue, inside and out. The two front legs and lyre are missing and the rear leg is detached. There is extensive loss to the top paint layer on the body of the piano, and very little paint left on the existing leg. The remaining top paint layer on the body is warped, lifting, and flaking. There is some lifting and loss of wood. All but ten of the upper portions of the black keys have detached from the keyboard, and the ivories are stained and dirty. Some metal surfaces, notably the strings and hinges, are oxidized and/ or heavily rusted. A few strings are broken. The top door is detached and dirty and a small portion is detached. The fall is also detached, with a heavily lifting and flaking top paint layer. Various smaller wood pieces are detached.
Sir Paul McCartney made a $1,000 gift to the Museum for the piano’s restoration in May.
The piano will be disassembled and all mold, mildew and rust will be removed from the interior and exterior. The flaking paint layer will be removed and the piano will be re-lacquered in white. Oxidation and rust will be removed from all metal pieces and coated to prevent further oxidation, and the broken wires will be reattached. New legs and lyre to match those missing either will be fabricated or purchased/donated by the Steinway Company. The smaller detached wood pieces will be reattached.
Donations maybe made online or by calling 504.558.0493 or mailed to Louisiana Museum Foundation, 828 Royal Street, PMB 525, New Orleans, LA 70116