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Drummer Frank Parker Dies at 81

New Orleans drummer Frank Parker died Tuesday, January 23, 2001 at Lakeland Medical Center. He was 81.

Mr. Parker was born in New Orleans and as a child marched and tap-danced with a Carnival group, the Gin Bandits. He started playing as a rhythm and blues drummer, but soon turned to traditional New Orleans jazz. The prolific drummer’s long career saw him play and tour with Fats Domino, Ray Charles, Lou Rawls, and the Preservation Hall Band. In 1979, Parker toured with “One Mo’ Time,” the stage hit about black vaudeville in the early days of jazz. The Louisiana Jazz Federation presented him a lifetime achievement award in October.

Parker died of complications from a stroke he suffered in 1990. He is survived by a large family including his wife, Jackie Smith Parker; three daughters, Naomi Gibson, Elaine Bell and Joycelyn Parker; a stepson, Rudolph Thomas Jr.; three stepdaughters, JoAnn Phillips and Joy Darden, both of Phoenix, Ariz., and Debra Felmon; nine grandchildren; eight step-grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; and three great-great-grandchildren.

Originally Published