Professor Longhair

Birth Name:
Henry Roeland Byrd
Birth Date:
December 19, 1918
Birth Place:
Bogalusa, Louisiana
Death Date:
January 30, 1980
Place of Death:
1740 Terpsichore Street, New Orleans, Louisiana
Cause of Death:
Heart attack
Cemetery Name:
Mount Olivet Cemetery
Claim to Fame:
Professor Longhair (or "Fess" for short) was a Louisiana born singer and pianist who performed New Orleans blues. He was active in two distinct periods, first in the heyday of early rhythm and blues and later in the resurgence of interest in traditional jazz after the founding of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 1970. His piano style has been described as "instantly recognizable, combining rumba, mambo, and calypso". During his career Professor Longhair had only one national commercial hit, "Bald Head", in 1950, under the name Roy Byrd and His Blues Jumpers. He also recorded his favorites, "Tipitina" and "Go to the Mardi Gras". He lacked crossover appeal among white and wide audiences. Yet, he is regarded as being a musician who was highly influential for other prominent musicians such as Fats Domino, Allen Toussaint and Dr. John.

Fun Facts

Professor Longhair was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1981. In 1987, he was awarded a posthumous Grammy Award for a collection of recordings produced by Quint Davis in 1971 and 1972 released as House Party New Orleans Style. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992. Professor Longhair was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame in 2016 at his former home in New Orleans.

The New Orleans music venue Tipitina’s is named after one of Longhair’s signature songs, and was created specifically as a venue for Longhair to perform in his aged years. A bust of Professor Longhair, sculpted by bluesman Coco Robicheaux, greets visitors upon entering the venue

Cemetery Information:

Final Resting Place:

Mount Olivet Cemetery

4000 Norman Mayer Avenue

New Orleans, Louisiana, 70122


North America

Grave Location:

Corridor of Grace, Lot C-17

Grave Location Description

Enter the cemetery near the corner of Foy and Norman Mayer across the street from the Norman Mayer Public Library. Park your car at the offices and walk towards the new-ish vaults. Professor Longhair is interred next to his wife on the ground floor (of the two-story structure) on the second row of crypts.

Grave Location GPS

29.997867473331755, -90.0620936891965



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