Many New Orleanians knew Eric Dwayne "Cashus" Clay from the local music scene. He was a member of the brass band/hip-hop group Coolbone and worked with bands as a stage production manager for Festival Productions Inc., the producer of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Clay died June 14 in Dallas. He was 40.
"He was an all-around great-spirited guy," says Curtis Watson, a friend and member of Buckwheat Zydeco. "He always had a smile on, and music was his life."
A native of Louisville, Ky., Clay studied music at the University of New Orleans, where he met many local musicians. He played trumpet and rapped for Coolbone, and in 2000 he joined the staff of Festival Productions. After Hurricane Katrina, he married Dawn Melanie Washington and they split time between New Orleans and Dallas. He is survived by his wife, father Eric L. Clay and sister Jamila Clay.
There is a memorial ceremony for Clay at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, in City Park (at the Singing Oak near the Wisner Boulevard entrance) followed by a 7 p.m. concert at Chickie Wah Wah honoring and celebrating his life. Performers include Gregory Davis, Derrick Freeman, Todd Duke, Thaddeus Richard, Mark Brooks, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Kermit Ruffins, Dr. Michael White, Delfeayo Marsalis, Roland Guerin, James Andrews and others. All proceeds go to defray Clay's medical expenses. Contact Heather Stamm (email@example.com) for information about donations. Suggested donation $10. — Will Coviello
Eric "Cashus" Clay Memorial Celebration
Chickie Wah Wah, 2828 Canal St., 304-4714; www.chickiewahwah.com