Lillian Boutté - vocalist
When singer Lillian Boutté was named New Orleans Musical Ambassador in 1986, she was the second jazz legend in the city's history to be accorded this honor - the first having been none other than Louis Armstrong. “Ambassador Lillian” is a loquacious and outspoken defender of her hometown. She has been working extensively to help Katrina victims, doing benefits and organizing relief funds for musicians, many of whom have lost everything. Also very active in this cause is her brother John Boutté a highly heralded singer in his own right and possessor of one of the finest voices in America. The siblings grew up in the Seventh Ward along with eight other sisters and brothers, steeped in the neighborhood culture of the city that is now threatened by extinction in the wake of Katrina.
It has always been Lillian's driving desire to bring the musical heartbeat of her home town nearer to the ears of the world. Over a timeframe of twenty years and with the backing of her albums featuring jazz, pop, blues, soul and gospel, she has succeeded in conveying the city's unique atmosphere to an international audience. For this extended period, she has been touring almost nonstop, doing concerts, club dates and festivals all over the world.
Music was Lillian's life right from the start. At the tender age of 11, she won her first singing contest. During her musical studies at New Orleans' Xavier University, she sang in the gospel choir, before being discovered by Allen Toussaint, who used her as a background singer when producing the likes of James Booker, Patti Labelle, the Neville Brothers, the Pointer Sisters and Dr. John.