Bobby Blanque (left) with Tony Bennett | 1950s | Dianne Blanque | Nola | tc436
Singer Robert “Bobby” Blanque, a classic crooner who opted to spend his career in New Orleans, died May 20, 2010 at home after a lengthy illness. He was 82.
Mr. Blanque grew up in the Ninth Ward and was musically inclined from an early age. As a 9-year-old boy in 1936, his accordion skills earned him a write-up in a local newspaper. He left St. Aloysius High School prior to graduation to pursue a career as a singer.
In 1953, he appeared on the nationally syndicated radio and TV show “Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts.” He subsequently performed around the country. For a brief time in the 1950s, he was based in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he found himself on bills with Tony Bennett and others.
However, he grew homesick for New Orleans. He resolved to build a career locally, rather than tour. To that end, he fronted orchestras and big bands around town. A 1957 summer pops concert teamed him with trumpeter Al Hirt. A 1965 benefit at the Municipal Auditorium for victims of Hurricane Betsy featured Mr. Blanque and Academy Award-winning actress Loretta Young.