On the day after the 35th anniversary of my father's death in Baton Rouge General Hospital, where I was born in 1951 and received the emergency appendectomy that saved my life in 1953, I heard the news that Antoine Domino had died at age 89. A sweet man, Fats gave us joy and beauty, like sunlight breaking through the clouds.
My sorrow over Antoine was mixed with happiness when after midnight of another St. Crispin's Day, the Houston Astros rose from the mat over and over to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers to even the World Series at one game apiece.
During my boyhood, my father brought home greatest hits albums by Hank and Fats, the foundations of my love for music.
My father took me to my first major league game, the Colt .45s vs. his beloved St. Louis Cardinals, in old day-glo colored Colt Stadium. Backlit by the brutal sun, the Astrodome's structure rose beyond the right field bleachers.
Later, after the Colts changed to the Astros, we flew in a corporate jet to a game in the Astrodome. An awkward teenage boy, I watched my father and his business cronies play cards and drink bourbon in a fog of cigar and cigarette smoke.
New Orleans and Houston are magical places for me, fused together as twin poles of the Gulf Coast culture in which I grew up.
Long steamy nights listening to the Astros on the radio. Trips to Houston and New Orleans with my late friend Loftin for concerts and adventure. Floods and hurricanes and the Saints and the blues.
Fats' death brought back all of those wonderful songs. They were based on New Orleans rhythms and Antoine's Creole voice, but they belong to the world.
Then the Astros. Now they are coming home, the World Series tied.