Clyde Edward Casey, the ‘soul shaker’ who roamed French Quarter with quirky percussion machine, passes away at 70

(Photo: Clyde Edward Casey | GoFundMe)
Clyde Edward Casey, a local artist who operated an elaborate self-constructed mobile percussion machine seen rolling along French Quarter streets over the years, passed away on April 2. He was 70.

Casey was born Dec. 11, 1950 in Memphis, Tenn. We didn’t know Casey except for seeing him with his drum contraption and it always brought a smile to our faces.

He was, however, described as “an original soul shaker” from the people who knew him and it appeared that he literally lived life to the beat of his own drum.

“Casey was a master percussionist, forkmeister, wooden sign carver, accordion and harmonica player, and built the most amazing mobile percussion rolling drum contraptions,” according to a GoFundMe fundraiser organized by Janae Crain and Craig Casey.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell recognized Casey’s passing, along with local artists Herbert Kearney, Mark Burton and Michael Martin, who also died that month.

“Our hearts are heavy this month as we learn of the passing of so many of our creative community’s brightest lights, and some of the most iconoclastic,” Cantrell said on April 30.

The money from the fundraiser, which has generated $2,875 of a $6,000 goal as of May 9, will go toward several things, including paying for cremation, a video documentary and premier and a spaceflight parade fund for trinkets, rig transport, etc. for a “final sendoff” on Mardi Gras, or March 1, 2022.

Any leftover funds will be donated to the VA Hospital Recreation Center and/or a local homeless charity, according to the fundraiser’s website.

The Time Traveler Pre-Party and documentary premier is tentatively scheduled from 5 to 9 p.m. on Lundi Gras, Feb. 28, 2022.

The Spaceflight Parade will begin near the intersection of Piety and Burgundy streets at 9 a.m. on Fat Tuesday, March 1, 2022.