Jazz musician Pete Fountain will once again march in the New Orleans Mardi Gras parade after missing out last year (06) due to illness.
Fountain, a Bay St Louis, Mississippi resident, will be making his 46th trek from Commander's Palace to the French Quarter in Louisiana, along with 165 members of his HALF-FAST MARCHING CLUB on 20 February (07).
The 76-year-old clarinettist says, "I can't wait, I missed the heck out of it all year long. After 45 years you don't just give something up."
Fountain had an operation on Monday (15JAN07) aimed at ending the pain he suffered from a lingering bout of shingles and also underwent quadruple bypass heart surgery in March (06).
He adds, "It looks like it's working. I was taking three pain pills a day and now I'm taking maybe one a day."
The New Orleans native lost his home in Bay St Louis, as well as his gold records, memorabilia and 10 musical instruments, when Hurricane Katrina hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 2005.