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Fountain to march again on Mardi Gras

Jazz clarinetist Pete Fountain says he will be back on the parade route on Mardi Gras this year after missing last year due to illness.

“I can’t wait, I missed the heck out of it all year long,” Fountain said. “After 45 years you don’t just give something up.”

Fountain, a Bay St. Louis, Miss., resident, will be making his 46th trek from Commander’s Palace to the French Quarter with the 165 members of his “Half-Fast Marching Club.”

Fountain, 76, had an operation Monday aimed at ending the pain he suffered from a lingering bout with shingles. He underwent quadruple bypass heart surgery in March.

“It looks like it’s working,” Fountain said Thursday. “I was taking three pain pills a day and now I’m taking maybe one a day.”

The theme of this year’s march will be pirates, Fountain said.

“I’ll do my shows on Friday and Saturday and then head over to New Orleans,” said Fountain, who appears at the Hollywood Casino on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The New Orleans native lost his $1.5 million house in Bay St. Louis, as well as his gold records, memorabilia and 10 musical instruments, when Katrina hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast. He is currently building a new one, he said.

His New Orleans home also was damaged but has been repaired.

Fountain and his wife, Beverly, just celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary.