Meet Allen Toussaint: The King of New Orleans Jazz Music

When you think of the music of New Orleans, jazz comes to mind, right?

Razzoo’s Cajun Café – the best Cajun restaurant in Texas - is proud of our Louisiana roots, and we love celebrating artists and musicians who have put Louisiana on the map. One such musician: Allen Toussaint. Read on to learn more about how he put New Orleans jazz on the map for the world to see:

Humble Beginnings

Allen Toussaint was born in New Orleans in 1938 to everyday, working class parents. His father worked on the railroad, but also played the trumpet, and that spurred his love for music. He was given the opportunity to take informal piano lessons from an elderly neighbor, and that opportunity changed his life forever.

A Career Takes Off

In his teen years, Toussaint began playing in a band – the Flamingos – and later dropped out of school to pursue music full time. His talent allowed him to play alongside the best musicians in New Orleans, and that gave him his big break at age 17 when he filled in for Huey “Piano” Smith at a top concert with the Earl King Band.

Musician, Songwriter, and Producer

By the age of 20, Toussaint was traveling and recording with many music greats. Not only did he perform, but as he honed his skills, he gained a knack for songwriting and producing too. Toussaint wrote about things people could understand, and those songs resonated with the working class. Songs like “Working in the Coal Mine” recorded by Lee Dorsey are a credit to Toussaint. Throughout his career he worked with many chart-topping greats like Paul McCartney and Robert Palmer. And while he never won a Grammy for his music, he was awarded a Grammy Trustees Award in 2009 in honor of his vibrant music career of the decades.  

Even in his late years, he could be seen around New Orleans, spreading his love for jazz music in his flashy suits and ties. Although Toussaint died in 2015, the impact he left on New Orleans, jazz music, and the entire music community will be felt for years to come.