Obituary: Henry Butler, the blind pianist and photographer
By Roland Hughes
July 8, 2018
Four months after Hurricane Katrina destroyed his house in August 2005, Henry Butler returned home to New Orleans for the first time.
He couldn’t see the damage – he had been blind since suffering glaucoma as a child. But he knew how bad it was. The stench that stuck to everything told him all he needed to know.
His sense of touch confirmed it. His beloved Mason & Hamlin piano, that dated from 1925, was covered in slime; the 8ft (2.4m) of water that had flooded the house had moved the piano some distance.
“When I touched the piano all the black keys were loose,” Butler told The Trentonian three years after Katrina in 2008. “You could gather them up and hold them all in your hand. Even when I tried to mash down on the keys to get it to play something, all you would just hear is ‘chump, chump’.