Buster Holmes, the king of red beans and rice who traveled the world to cook for the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, has died of a heart attack. He was 89.
Mr. Holmes was stricken at home and died at a hospital Monday (Feb. 28, 1994).
He was famous in New Orleans for the cheap lunches he dished out at the French Quarter restaurant that carried his name: 27 cents for red beans and rice in the late 1960s.
His fame spread beyond New Orleans in the early 1970s when he was written up in national publications and praised by the New Yorker's Calvin Trillin.
"My red beans are really nothing different," he told the Times-Picayune in 1981. "I put in all the seasonings _ onions, garlic, bell peppers _ at once and let the whole thing cook down. And I never put any meat grease in my beans."
Mr. Holmes, who once cooked for President Lyndon Johnson at the White House, toured internationally with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, bringing along his own ingredients.
He broke into the restaurant business in the '50s, when New Orleans was still segregated. The restaurant catered only to blacks until the '60s.
The restaurant closed in 1979, but rights to its name were sold to a restaurant in New Orleans.