Wonderful article on Leigh and The Leigh Harris Collection by Nina Bozak in The Historic New Orleans Collection (HNOC) Winter 2023 Quarterly Newsletter.
With permission of HNOC, we've included an excerpt here. Click on the link below to download the complete article and images.
RECENT ADDITIONS: The Royal Treatment
Leigh “Little Queenie” Harris (1954–2019) was a New Orleans singer-songwriter whose career spanned 40 years. Though known mostly as a blues-rock singer, her voice defied categorization and allowed her to play with bands of many genres. Harris passed away in 2019 of complications from breast cancer. She was 65.
Harris became a fixture on the New Orleans music scene when she and keyboardist John Magnie, who later cofounded the Subdudes, formed a duo in 1970, performing weekly at the recently opened Tipitina’s. Taking the moniker Little Queenie in 1975, she formed her influential band Li’l Queenie and the Percolators in 1977, also with Magnie. The Percolators quickly became a local favorite and inaugurated Jimmy’s Music Club on Oak Street when it opened in 1978 ...
Though the Percolators lasted only four years, Harris’s career was long, and she was highly regarded as a musician and songwriter ... Her song with the Percolators “My Dawlin’ New Orleans” closed out the first episode of the HBO series Tremé. Harris released four solo albums and contributed to many others. She was known for her openness and generosity, often acting as a mentor to younger vocalists and making everyone she worked with feel comfortable ...
The Leigh Harris Collection, donated by Harris’s husband, Rick Ledbetter, documents Harris’s musical career, beginning when she was a teenager. Specific items of interest include press photos, scrapbooks, notebooks, chart books, lyrics, posters and other concert ephemera, promotional material, stagewear, instruments, letters, audio recordings, and a 2020 Krewe of ’Tit Rex float by artist Cree McCree dedicated to her memory. The collection also includes approximately 40 digital images and digital files of many of Harris’s recordings.
We are pleased to announce that, with the generous contributions of her estate, The Historic New Orleans Collection (HNOC) has taken a portion of Leigh's Little Queenie memorabilia for preservation.
The collection includes memorabilia from her first days performing at age 11 through her passing in 2019 at age 65 and includes photos, posters, print articles, notes and lyrics, and copies of her 13 CD recordings.
Once curated and digitized, HNOC will create a virtual exhibit on its website, as well as an exhibit at their French Quarter museum.
We would like to thank HNOC for the respect and care they have taken to preserve Leigh's amazing talent and memory!