Pete Fountain’s childhood home moves closer to landmark status

The childhood home of late clarinetist Pete Fountain has officially been nominated for city landmark status. On Wednesday (Aug. 2), the Historic District Landmarks Commission unanimously approved the landmark nomination of 820-22 North White St. The green bracketed Italianate-style double shotgun has fallen into disrepair and has been unoccupied for the last three years.

Being nominated for landmark status now places the home under the jurisdiction of the HDLC for a period of study and allows the commission to review any exterior alterations to the house. The property’s owner, Thu Can, did not attend the meeting.

Fountain’s son-in-law Benny Harrell spoke of the importance of the home and the city in Fountain’s life. The clarinetist spent his entire life here, opening his jazz club for people to “experience the culture of New Orleans,” Harrell said. 820-22 North White St. and the neighborhood around it is where “Pete’s whole personality was developed, from his New Orleans accent to the love of the people in New Orleans,” Harrell said.

Allen Johnson, a member of Pete Fountain’s Half Fast Walking Club, a Carnival krewe founded by the clarinetist, also spoke at the meeting, highlighting the importance of preserving the musical history of New Orleans. Johnson urged the HDLC to ensure the preservation of homes connected with noteworthy musicians from the city.

Fountain’s wife, Beverley, who he married in 1951, also was in attendance, as was Sandra Stokes of the Louisiana Landmark Commission, who drafted the landmark nomination. In speaking to the HDLC, she said that she was pleased with the nomination, adding “who doesn’t love Pete Fountain?”

The Preservation Resource Center supports the nomination for landmark status of 820-22 North White St.