Wednesday, November 20th is Dr. John’s birthday. He would have been 79.

These are the words I spoke at his Memorial Service.

“Dr. John….Mac Rebennack,

It was in his right hand piano rolls. It was in the rhythm and stretch of his left hand. It was in the words you couldn’t understand but you knew exactly what they meant.

It was how he connected all the dots in New Orleans cultural history and embodied it in every breath. From Friday night Fish Frys to Saturday morning Street Hustles, From Gottschalk to Booker. From Danny Barker to Earl King, from Fats Domino and Huey Smith to Allen Toussaint and Art Neville. From Voodoo priestesses to Indian Chiefs. He was our cultural leader.

No more important was his voice after Katrina and failures of our levees, he said what no one would say publicly into a microphone.

He had it and we wanted it. His drawl, his walk, his style, he was the greatest accesorizer of all time. We wanted to be like him. He was hip. He was cool. He was phonky. He was US. He was the 504 Truth.

Mac, Dr. John, you’ll be Qualified each and every day.”