Jimmy Buffett was in New Orleans on Friday for the memorial service for his friend Allen Toussaint.
Jimmy and Allen at the New Orleans Jazz Fest in 2014
World-renowned stars and home folks who love New Orleans’ rich musical heritage crowded into a historic theater Friday to bid farewell in words and song to Allen Toussaint, a prolific songwriter, performer and producer who died last week at age 77.
Jimmy Buffett sang “Fortune Teller.” Davell Crawford accompanied himself on piano, singing a haunting version of “Southern Nights,” the New Orleans-born Toussaint’s reminiscence of childhood visits to relatives in rural south Louisiana. Other performers included John Boutte, Dr. John and New Orleans’ “Queen of Soul” Irma Thomas, who said farewell with a gospel tune. The Preservation Hall Brass Band joined Trombone Shorty to close out the performances with a rousing “I’ll Fly Away.”
The tribute was at the Orpheum, recently renovated and reopened a decade after it was damaged by Hurricane Katrina. The performances were carried live on the city’s community radio station WWOZ. Toussaint’s body lay in repose in a closed casket in the theater.
Toussaint died from a heart attack on Nov. 10 while on tour in Spain. A private burial is planned Saturday.
Jimmy Buffett was in South Florida on Saturday afternoon to perform for the official grand opening of the Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort.
photo by Shannon Kaestle for Miami Herald
As the sun dropped and the rain drifted out to sea, thousands of people massed along the Broadwalk in front of Margaritaville for the official grand opening of the Buffett-themed resort that now stands as the beach’s new centerpiece. The $150 million attraction offers more than just 349 rooms, eight bars and a spa — it’s also a beacon of hope that this snowbird paradise will at last become a first-class tourist destination.
“Let’s put the top down on this place!” Buffett shouted to kick off the one and a half-hour free concert.
The high-tech, slickly produced Live Nation Jimmy Buffett concert production — bigger and louder than anything Hollywood beach has ever seen before — was greeted by veteran Parrotheads and Hollywood locals but did not come without controversy; residents took to social media in the days before to decry what some criticized as a VIP-only exclusive event.
But most of the stage was visible, and by the time Buffett took the stage at 4:30 p.m. it was already 5 o’clock somewhere. The complaints had, for the most part, been drowned down with a few beers, some shots of tequila and Buffett magic.
Another Margaritaville resort is being developed, this time in the Cayman Islands:
The Treasure Island hotel in the heart of Grand Cayman’s tourist district is to become a full-scale Margaritaville Resort, new owners have said. Howard Hospitality Group (HHG) has bought the site, which was on sale for just over $15 million, and said it is already planning a major redesign and renovation of the building to convert it into a branded beach resort. The owners said it would open in December 2016, complete with and a two-story Margaritaville pool slide, multiple bars and restaurants and 280 rooms.
The hotel, which is home to a number of long-term tenants, will remain open during renovations under HHG’s management, the firm said in a release.
“The Margaritaville Beach Resort on Seven Mile Beach will provide a new and exciting hotel experience for Grand Cayman,” said Howard Sitzer, Chairman and CEO of HHG. “Authentically Caribbean, this luxury resort will embrace local tastes, sights and sounds and provide quality and vibrant entertainment for visitors and guests.”
This is not the first Margaretville in Cayman. George Town already has a branded bar and restaurant, inspired by the lyrics and lifestyle of singer, songwriter and author, Jimmy Buffett, but the new resort will be on a much bigger scale and will cater to overnight guests as well as cruise ship passengers, which are the downtown bar’s main customers.
Renovations are expected to begin early in the New Year the new owners stated and once open, the operational management will be led by Trust Hospitality of Miami.
Jimmy Buffett will head to south Florida on Saturday to perform at the Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort.
The chief Parrothead himself — Jimmy Buffett — will perform Saturday at the Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort as part of its grand opening festivities, a hotel spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday.
Buffett is expected to perform between 4 and 6 p.m. in the iconic band shell along the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk — now under management of the 349-room resort that opened in September.
Only registered hotel guests and special invitees will be able to attend the concert, but beachgoers should be able to view Buffett’s performance on digital monitors erected around the bandshell, the hotel spokeswoman said.
Rooms are still available at the hotel for the weekend for people interested in taking in Buffett’s performance. Rates start at $399 a night, which will include a Margaritaville Beach Party from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.