Louisiana Native Chitlin’ Circuit Performers

“No other place has contributed a richer heritage of pop music to the rest of the United States, from Dixieland [jazz] to rock n’ roll to contemporary jazz.”

sarah kraemer features editor

Louisiana and its towns are home to many Chitlin’ Circuit performers, from “King of the Chitlin’ Circuit,” Bobby Rush, to Fats Domino—a pioneer of rock n’ roll music known for  “Ain’t That A Shame.”

Bobby Rush

“King of the Chitlin Circuit,” Bobby Rush, was born in Homer, Louisiana, in 1933. Rush has won three Grammys for his music, but before the success, Rush says he was barely surviving and working gig to gig on the circuit. 

The hard times encouraged Rush to keep going. He says he’s written over 400 songs and still creates music while performing across the country.

“He draws people in, whether it’s an arena of 15,000 to 20,000 people or it’s a small theater,” says Rush’s Manager Jeff Delia.

Rush says he loves smaller venues because he can reach out to the audience, and the 93-year-old says he isn’t stopping anytime soon.

Fats Domino

Fats Domino, also known as Antonio Dominique Domino Jr., was born in New Orleans in 1928. 

His uncle taught him to play music, and Domino recorded his first song at 21 years old called “The Fat Man,” according to “Musical Gumbo: The Music of New Orleans.”

“‘The Fat Man’ had hooks that grabbed hold of listeners in an instant and wouldn’t let them sit still. It was a sound that with a little modification would soon sweep the nation, whites, as well as blacks, under the banner of rock n’ roll,” says Grace Lichtenstein and Laura Dankner, in their book “Musical Gumbo: The Music of New Orleans.”

Domino would go on to sell over 65 million records and produce 25 gold singles, according to his website. He died at 87 years old in 2017 due to natural causes.

Thaddeus Richard

Thibodaux native Thaddeus Richard, born in 1950, performed with Paul McCartney and Wings for about five years.  

He comes from a family of musicians, including his father Renald Richard—who co-wrote “I Got A Woman” with Ray Charles—and he’s known for being a multi-instrumental musician.

“I’m convinced if you locked Thaddeus in a room with any instrument, he could master it in no time,” according to Ben Jaffe, creative director of a New Orleans nightclub called Preservation Hall, in “Preservation Hall.”

Eve Abrams wrote “Preservation Hall,”—a book inspired by the Preservation Hall nightclub—by interviewing musicians who played there. 

Richard celebrated his 73rd birthday at the Thibodaux Wellness Center with a live musical performance, according to Houma Today. 

Roy Brown

Roy Brown grew up in Eunice, Louisiana, and returned to Louisiana in 1947 after moving throughout the country.

Brown made his first profit on music at the Dew Drop Inn when he sang “Good Rockin’ Tonight” into the payphone, according to “The Chitlin Circuit: And The Road To Rock n’ Roll” author Preston Lauterbach.

The Kinder native died in 1981 of a heart attack at the age of 55.


These artists and many others, like Allen Toussaint, an R&B artist from Gert Town, and Tut Washingtona, a self-taught blues pianist from New Orleans, flow together like a rich Louisiana bayou as their musical innovations continue to influence the ever-growing music industry.

As Bobby Rush’s manager DeLia says, “The music that’s come out of New Orleans over the last 100 years…Millions upon millions upon millions of people have gone on to listen, to buy, to stream and to be influenced by this music.”