New Orleans-based vocalist Theryl “Houseman” DeClouet died on Sunday night at age 66 after years of battling various health issues including diabetes and high blood pressure. DeClouet was best known for his long tenure fronting funk band Galactic including contributions to the group’s early albums. News of Houseman’s passing was confirmed by a post on Galactic’s Facebook page. The cause of Houseman’s death has not been revealed as of press time.
Theryl “Houseman” DeClouet was born in New Orleans on September 17, 1951. DeClouet traveled the country before settling in the Crescent City, where he was a founding member of vocal group The Lyrics. Houseman first found acclaim during his tenure in R&B act Hollygrove, which was birthed out of The Lyrics. Theryl met Rob Mercurio and Jeff Raines in 1990, who later tapped DeClouet to front their burgeoning new band Galactic.
Galactic was led by the versatile and soulful singer from their start touring outside of New Orleans in the mid-1990s through a pair of 2004 shows at the Fillmore in San Francisco. Houseman was featured on tracks from Galactic’s 1996 debut album Coolin’ Off. He also contributed to 1998’s Crazyhorse Mongoose, 2000’s Late For The Future and 2003’s Ruckus. Members of Galactic returned the favor by appearing on DeClouet’s 2001 solo album The Houseman Cometh.
Houseman was forced to relocate to Chicago in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina destroyed his home. DeClouet reteamed with Galactic a handful of times following his departure from the band, including at Tipitina’s in New Orleans on March 23, 2013 for a benefit concert entitled “Bring The Houseman Home.” The vocalist also appeared with Galactic at Red Rocks on July 14, 2016 at a show celebrating the 20th anniversary of Coolin’ Off and at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival earlier in 2016.
Read a few tributes from Galactic and the members of the band: