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Passings

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Placide Adams, 73, bassist, had been a fixture in New Orleans' traditional jazz community, particularly with the Onward Brass Band. Adams also recorded with several R&B stars of the 1950s including Ruth Brown and Clyde McPhatter, and performed in Carnegie Hall in 1976.

Alvin Alcorn, 90, was a venerable trumpet player who performed with some of New Orleans' most famous jazz musicians, including Kid Ory, A.J. Piron, George Lewis and Louis Barbarin. Alcorn was also credited with starting the idea of the jazz brunch, which he first performed at Commander's Palace.

Sam Altobello, 85, the dignified Jefferson Parish Registrar of Voters, served 27 years in the office until his retirement in 1998, registering tens of thousands of voters.

Michael Armstrong (aka Money Mark), 23, was a local MC and rapper with several hip-hop collectives in New Orleans. Money Mark was known for his freestyling prowess.

Robert Borsodi, 64, poet and owner of coffeehouses in New Orleans and elsewhere. Tormented by cancer, he jumped to his death from the Hale Boggs Bridge over the Mississippi River. His body was recovered and cremated, and his friends returned to the bridge and cast his ashes back out onto the river.

Grace Marie Trudeau Benson, 76, wife of New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson, was renowned in charity circles in New Orleans and San Antonio, Texas. She helped raise $1 million for eye research in New Orleans, where she was the founding chairwoman of the Louisiana State University Eye Center Visionary Gala and served on the board of the LSU Medical Center.

Rudy "Big Chief Rudy" Bougere, 52, a decorated U.S. Army veteran of the Vietnam War and employee of a private security agency, founded the Mardi Gras Indians group the Ninth Ward Hunters Tribe.

Judge William "Dude" Byrnes III, 61, chief judge of the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, also served as volunteer director of The Abstract Book Store and Project Last Hope Recovery, a residential recovery program for men struggling with addictions and severe mental health problems.

William Calvin "Bill" Crider Jr. , 83, a revered writer for The Associated Press in Louisiana, covered civil rights upheavals throughout the South, as well as hurricanes, politics and other newsworthy excesses.

Norman Dixon Sr. , 68, considered by many to have sparked a renaissance of the second-line parade scene in New Orleans, also served on the board of the directors of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation. Thousands attended a second line held in Dixon's honor following his funeral services in June.

Hartwell M. "Jerry" Doty Jr. , 68, a pioneer in public opinion polling in Louisiana as well as an expert in political demographics, helped elect numerous officials during five decades of politics.

James Durant, 31, was a popular saxophonist for the ReBirth Brass Band. Durant, known to many by his nickname "Phat Nasty," injected a jazzy sensibility into his soulful solos.

Bill Elder, 65, a legendary WWL-TV anchor/reporter known for his trademark delivery and investigative journalism, died from complications of brain cancer -- after chronicling his medical odyssey for tens of thousands of viewers. In 1993, his 31-part series on Medicaid fraud won the coveted George Foster Peabody award for courageous journalism.

Christopher Hemmeter, 64, a flashy, charming resort developer, was the conceptual "father" of a casino gambling hall in downtown New Orleans.

Moses Hogan, 45, a pianist and one of the first graduates of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA), gained international respect for his writing and arrangements of traditional African-American spiritual music.

Morris F.X. Jeff Jr. , 64, the director of the city Human Services Department (formerly Welfare Department), championed social issues such as the preservation of African-American families. Jeff served five city administrations, beginning with Mayor Moon Landrieu.

Robert Hall Sr. , 104, was a member of one of New Orleans' more noted musical families. The clarinetist played with the Hippolyte Charles Orchestra and the Original Tuxedo Orchestra.

Don "Moose" Jamison, 75, a New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation historian and community activist, founded numerous programs supporting music and musicians.

Don Lee Keith, 62, a lanky, witty and profoundly Southern writer, was perhaps best known for his profiles of literary legends Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams and Eudora Welty. He also enjoyed writing about hurricanes, burlesque dancers and his beloved Mississippi.

Sandy "Sandy" Krasnoff, 68, the tireless, blustery executive director of Victims and Citizens Against Crime, a victims' rights advocacy group, successfully lobbied the Louisiana Legislature for statewide implementation of a victim notification system, known as VINE.

Iris Kelso, 76, a political reporter and columnist renowned throughout the state for compassionate and tough reporting, covered some of the most colorful politicians in the second half of the 20th century. The Associated Press obituary observed that Kelso's "honeyed drawl and impeccable manners masked a steely determination to get the story."

Earl King, 69, a world-famous singer, songwriter and guitarist, penned such timeless New Orleans anthems as "Trick Bag," "Big Chief," and "Come On."

Joe Knecht, 70, a union electrician, rose through the ranks of labor management to become the dapper president of the Greater New Orleans AFL-CIO from 1983 to 1997. He also served as a fair-minded bridge to the business community on a number of influential boards and commissions.

Chuck Lampkin, 78 (estimated), one of the first black news anchors in New Orleans and the nation, also played drums with Dizzy Gillespie and other jazz greats.

Kelly Marrione Jr. , 53, a retired New Orleans police officer renowned citywide for his passion for imparting crime prevention strategies and tactics to citizens, was shot to death by two men in the driveway of his Metairie home. The city's annual Night Out Against Crime has been re-named in his honor.

Susan Crichton Martineau, 44, a former advertising director at Gambit Weekly, helped steer alternative weeklies nationwide to unprecedented financial success.

Henry Lloyd Mason, 82, a combative political science professor who taught at Tulane University for 51 years, died one month after teaching his last class on the Holocaust -- a course informed by his own wartime experiences as a U.S. Army intelligence officer in the Netherlands.

James Tapp (aka Soulja Slim), 25, an up-and-coming rapper who grew up with Master P and C-Murder, was gunned down in front of the Gentilly house he had purchased for his mother. Soulja Slim's albums often referenced drugs and drive-by shootings.

Musician Earl King and journalist Bill Elder were - among the unforgettable locals who passed away - this year.
  • Musician Earl King and journalist Bill Elder were among the unforgettable locals who passed away this year.

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