Nearly a year ago now, the news circulated that Marva Wright had suffered a couple of serious strokes. Friends then came together this past fall in a benefit to help pay for her medical care: George Porter, the Wild Magnolias, Tab Benoit all turned out for a sizeable benefit concert befitting the generous spirit of the ‘Blues Queen of New Orleans’. This morning Marva Wright suffered another stroke and passed away in New Orleans.
Her outstanding auto-biographical 2007 release After the Levees Broke went a long way to relate one of the many deeply personal stories of life in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina for folks along the Gulf Coast. Marva and most of her family evacuated the city before the storms hit. She watched the hurricane’s destruction unfold on television and for many days during and after the storm she was left to wonder about the fate of her son, the police officer who had stayed behind in New Orleans to help those that remained as the waters rose. (He survived.) The power of her voice and personality are inseparably fused to songs on the recording like Bruce Hornsby’s The Way It Is, and Marvin Gaye’s Change Is Going To Come.
We’ll remember the inspirational spirit of Marva Wright with a showcase of After the Levees Broke, this coming Monday on World of Music.
(Here’s Richard Marcus’ review of After the Levees Broke)