Jimmy Buffett’s death reverberates through New Orleans

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, right, shakes hands with musician Jimmy Buffett,...
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, right, shakes hands with musician Jimmy Buffett, center, after an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings in New Orleans, Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)(Bill Haber | AP)
Published: Sep. 2, 2023 at 1:15 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 3, 2023 at 6:49 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Jimmy Buffett’s death was mourned Saturday (Sept. 2) by a wide swath of New Orleans entertainment and sports figures.

Buffett’s love affair with the city predated some of his massive recording success. As a young singer-songwriter, Buffett spent time busking on Decatur Street and playing before drunken crowds in the former Bayou Room nightclub on Bourbon Street.

And Buffett’s affection for New Orleans continued decades after his 1977 hit ‘Margaritaville’ turned him into a pop music superstar. His rabid Parrothead fans flocked to the Fair Grounds frequently for Buffett’s shows or cameo appearances at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

“Jazz Fest mourns, remembers and celebrates the legend. Thank you, Jimmy, for decades of joy -- and for all you did for the Festival, New Orleans and the world,” read a social media post from the Jazz Fest organization.

Buffett struck up a decades-long friendship with the late New Orleans musician and producer Allen Toussaint.

And Buffett said his devotion to the New Orleans Saints began when he attended the expansion team’s first home game at Tulane Stadium in 1967, and continued for years as he was invited to watch some games from the sidelines or visit the team during training camp.

Here is a sampling of the social media reaction to Buffett’s death at age 76:

And former Times-Picayune editor James Karst produced one of the greatest finds of the day: A 1974 letter to the former New Orleans newspaper of record from Bessie Peets of Gulfport, imploring the paper to take some early notice of her grandson’s burgeoning music career. Pure gold.

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