During an outdoor Mass held on the banks of Lake Pontchartrain, the pope listened to Al Hirt and Pete Fountain, and was later moved to remark: "I have always heard about the beautiful music of New Orleans. Today I have been able to hear it and admire it personally."
Pete Fountain, his wife and his adult children may be victims of Hurricane Katrina. The Times-Picayune reports:
Pete Fountain, the world-renown Dixieland clarinetist and New Orleans institution, may be among Katrina’s victims, his sister fears.
Dolores Materne of Metairie, who fled her Metairie home for Lafayette, says she hasn’t heard from her 75-year-old brother and his wife Beverly, who have homes in hurricane-flattened Bay St. Louis and on Swan Street near Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans, since Katrina turned towards the central gulf coast.
She has not been able to reach his three adult children, who live in Metairie and New Orleans.
Materne last spoke with Fountain on Thursday Aug. 25, and he said he planned to head to the city on Sunday. She said he sometimes rides out storms at his house on Julia Street and North Beach Boulevard in Bay St. Louis, or at Casino Magic, where he relocated his regular New Orleans gig a few years back. He’s also been known to leave the area when a storm is approaching.
“At times over the years he’s gone out of town,” she said. “More or less lately, he seems to be staying closer to home.”