Grover Arbuthnot, 21. When he was a child, Arbuthnot's uncle dubbed him 'Rock' because he was a strong and sweet kid despite being orphaned before his first birthday. As a teenager, he ended up in juvenile court, but overcame adversity with help from the staff at the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana and from co-workers at Cafe Reconcile. In June, Arbuthnot was murdered by an unknown assailant, for reasons that remain unclear. Arbuthnot's story was the subject of a Gambit Weekly cover story in July 2004.
Daniel Breaux, 57. After another day spent dancing at his beloved Jazz Fest, Breaux was murdered during a botched robbery attempt as he left the Fair Grounds. An artist, dancer, expert craftsman and music lover, Breaux was known to many by his trademark red clogs -- the dancing shoes he always wore to Jazz Fest. An exhibit of Breaux's paintings is on display at the Holiday Inn Downtown-Superdome.
Kim Carbo, 43. Former New Orleans film commissioner Carbo died in July, during a year in which her pioneering efforts to market New Orleans as a viable movie-shoot location began to pay off. First appointed as film commissioner in 1986, Carbo, a University of New Orleans graduate, was credited with bringing more than $2 billion to the city's economy through film projects during her tenure. Upon her retirement in late 2003, Carbo became a Dillard University professor and started her own film production and marketing firm.
Joseph Dorsey Jr. , 69. In 1956, Louisiana passed a law prohibiting athletic contests between blacks and whites; in 1957, light heavyweight Joseph Dorsey, a Seventh Ward native, sued the state athletic commission for the right to compete with white boxers for a championship belt. The federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled for Dorsey, with an opinion written by now-legendary civil-rights jurist John Minor Wisdom. Dorsey, however, was blacklisted as a result and retired from the ring to work as a longshoreman.
John A. 'Johnny' Faulk, 79. Faulk was considered a newcomer to legendary Cajun band The Hackberry Ramblers, despite the fact he had served as the bassist since 1979. Faulk brought a Sears-bought bass he got in the late 1940s to the band, as well as his showman style. He died unexpectedly in Lake Charles in October, a week following two New Orleans performances: one a Tipitina's fais do do and the other at the Prytania Theater following a screening of the Grammy-nominated documentary Make Em Dance: The Hackberry Ramblers Story.
The Rev. Percy Murphy Griffin, 84. Griffin passed away in March, leaving a legacy as pastor for 27 years at St. John Baptist Church and as a major civil rights figure in Plaquemines Parish in the 1950s and 1960s. A lifelong resident of Phoenix, La., Griffin founded the Plaquemines Parish Civic and Political Organization, which worked to help black voter registration as well as the parish public school integration process. A World War II veteran, Griffin was honored in December with the renaming of the Davant Community Center in his honor.
Waldren 'Frog' Joseph, 86. Joseph came up in a musical family where he first learned to play the drums and piano, then trombone. He raised five children including his sons, trombonist Charles 'Charlie Dozen' and sousaphonist Kirk. Joseph toured with big jazz bands; recorded with rhythm and blues greats like Dave Bartholomew, Earl King and Big Joe Turner; and played locally in bands led by musicians like Papa French, Paul Barbarin and Louis Cottrell. He was also a regular at Preservation Hall and taught younger trombonists such as Lucien Barbarin and Freddie Lonzo his signature 'tailgating' trombone style, where the trombone plays the melody just behind the trumpet.
Kelly Keller, 44. A co-owner of hipster hangout the Circle Bar, Keller died at her home in September. The Eunice native and Louisiana State University graduate championed music ranging from underground rock and roll to obscure and forgotten R&B.
Jean LaPlace, 56. Though a native of Pittsburgh, political consultant, former news reporter and public relations specialist LaPlace was credited by his boss and good friend Rep. William Jefferson (D-New Orleans) as knowing more about Louisiana politics 'than just about anyone I know.' LaPlace, who died in December at his Washington, D.C., home, covered numerous top stories for The Times-Picayune during his time there from 1973 to 1977, including Gov. Edwin Edwards' trip to Georgia to endorse Jimmy Carter for president and the tragic 1973 fire at the Upstairs Lounge. LaPlace first worked with Jefferson on the politician's unsuccessful bid for mayor in 1986 and joined Jefferson's Washington staff as the congressman's first hire in 1990, first working as communications director and later senior policy advisor.
Anthony 'Tuba Fats' Lacen, 53. After Lacen's death from a heart attack in January, thousands of mourners and hundreds of musicians followed his horse-drawn casket from where he laid in state at Gallier Hall, down Bourbon Street to the bench where he reigned over the Jackson Square pickup jazz band. The second line continued on to Preservation Hall, the other spot where locals could always find him playing music when he wasn't touring the world. Afterward, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band dedicated its latest CD, Funeral for a Friend, to him. The ReBirth Brass Band wrote the song 'Tubaluba' for its 2004 CD, ReBirth for Life. And, every Sunday afternoon, second-line parades really get going when the tuba begins blowing Lacen's quintessential brass-band groove, which he wrote decades ago and called simply 'Tuba Fats.'
Ellis Marsalis Sr. , 96. Patriarch of the famous family of jazz musicians and educators, Marsalis, who passed away in September, was a noted civil rights activist and motel operator. Marsalis' latter-day reputation may have been built on the music of his son, Ellis Jr., and grandsons Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo and Jason, but during the civil rights era he served countless prominent African Americans as one of the few black motel operators in the area during segregation. A poultry farmer leading up to his career in hospitality, Marsalis converted a barn on his farming property in the Shrewsbury area of Jefferson Parish into the Marsalis Motel. From its opening in 1943 to the Civil Rights Act year of 1964, the Marsalis Motel regularly housed such notables as Martin Luther King Jr. and Thurgood Marshall.
Willie Metcalf Jr. , 74. In the movie Ray, Metcalf played the old man who taught a young Ray Charles to play piano. It was a perfect last role for the man who mentored, taught and gave spots in his band to a generation of aspiring New Orleans musicians, including Wynton and Branford Marsalis, trumpeters Terence Blanchard and Jamil Sharif, saxophonists Donald Harrison and Kelvin Harrison, bassists Kevin Morris and Chris Severin, vocalist Samirah Evans, and drummers Noel Kendrick and Herman LeBeaux. Through a program he called the Academy of Black Arts, Metcalf taught young local musicians the rules of bebop, said to be the most difficult of all the jazz genres.
Pat Taylor, 67. An oilman philanthropist, Taylor's generous charity extended to many circles of local life, from donated streetlights along the new Canal streetcar line to college scholarships for students in need. A graduate of Louisiana State University, Taylor was named, along with his wife Phyllis, Gambit Weekly's New Orleanians of the Year for 1988, a year in which the 'Taylor Plan' was created. The 'Taylor Plan' evolved after Taylor was inspired from a speaking engagement at a public middle school in eastern New Orleans, during which he promised underprivileged students a college education for all who maintained a B average and stayed out of trouble. The state scholarship program TOPS grew out of Taylor's stewardship.
Arthur William Tong, 81. Tong, known as 'The Phantom of Le Petit' and a French Quarter fixture, passed away in April. He was hired as a sports and culture photographer when the New Orleans Recreation Department was created in 1947 and later served as a freelance photographer for three city newspapers. A longtime photographer, and later front-of-the-house volunteer, for Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre, Tong was known as a true devotee to theater, its words and stagecraft and earned bit parts in movies such as Panic in the Streets and A Streetcar Named Desire.
Joe Williams, 22. In August, Hot 8 Brass Band trombonist Williams was shot nine times by New Orleans Police Department officers during a routine traffic stop. Williams came from New Orleans' great musical Lastie family, which includes his great grandfather Deacon Frank Lastie, uncle and Lincoln Center drummer Herlin Riley, cousins James and Troy Andrews, and his tuba-playing brother Aria.