Antoine "Fats" Domino
receives National Medal of Arts
from President Bill Clinton
November 5, 1998

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release November 5, 1998

Remarks by the President
and the First Lady
at Presentation of
the National Medal of the Arts
And The National Humanities Medal

The South Lawn
11:18 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: From Blueberry Hill to Capitol Hill, and countless concert halls and honkytonks in between, Fats Domino has brought musical joy to millions, including me. I was this morning trying to remember all the lyrics to all the songs that I could. I will spare you a recitation. (Laughter.)

Antoine Domino grew up in New Orleans speaking French, English and boogie woogie. His talent was as big as his frame and his nickname. In a career spanning half a century, his rich voice and distinctive piano style helped to define rock and roll, the music that more than any other creative force in America has brought the races together. When I heard he couldn't make the ceremony I thought, ain't that a shame. (Laughter.) But I'm thrilled that his daughter, Antoinette Domino Smith, is here to accept the Medal on behalf of her remarkable father, Fats Domino. (Applause.)

(The Medal is presented.)


Fats Domino's National Medal of Arts was lost when his New Orleans home in the Lower 9th Ward was flooded in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Domino received a replacement medal from President George W. Bush on August 29, 2006 (photo / photo).

About the NEA National Medal of Arts:

The National Medal of Arts is the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the United States Government. The National Medal of Arts is awarded by the President of the United States to individuals or groups who "are deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support and availability of the arts in the United States."

Other National Medal of Arts recipients from Louisiana include Kitty Carlisle Hart (1991), Buddy Guy (2003), Wynton Marsalis (2005), the Preservation Hall Jazz Band (2006), Van Cliburn (2010), and Allen Toussaint (2012).