For the past five decades, Toussaint has fine-tuned the soundtrack of nation. He's written hits like "Working in a Coal Mine," "Southern Nights," "Yes We Can Can," "I Was In The Right Place," and "Lady Marmalade." He's also produced songs for artists such as Dr. John and Patti LaBelle.
"I don't know how many songs I've written," he says. "But it's all about the journey."
Since late last summer, that journey has been more like a roller-coaster ride. The 67-year-old New Orleans native was living easy on his laurels and residuals in the Big Easy when Hurricane Katrina struck. It destroyed his house and his life's work.
"All of my manuscripts," he says of his losses. "Everything I spent my daily times with was gone."
Friends feared he was trapped in the Superdome, or that he was dead — until he showed up in New York with just the clothes on his back ... and was rediscovered.
Musicians staging a relief concert at Madison Square Garden last September heard Toussaint was in town and put him in the spotlight. That led to recording deals and a call from Elvis Costello. Now he and the prolific rocker are cutting a CD of Toussaint's songs. Costello, who insisted they record in New Orleans, can't stop singing Toussaint's praises.
"They say 'will you stop listing all the song that he's written'," says Costello. "No, I've got a few more I've not told you about yet."
Toussaint and his friends will sing at this year's Grammys. They're closing the show, with Bruce Springsteen scheduled to join them, although Costello adds, "You never know. It could be anybody coming up there by the end."
The revival has reinvigorated Toussaint.
"It feels great being me," he says. "It's like being born again, in a way."
Still, like Dorothy in the "Wizard Of Oz," there's no place like home — and that's where he's headed.
"It's New Orleans on a break," he says of his post-Grammy plans. "Like musicians take a break and go round back for a while. It's on a break — that's all."
Toussaint says he's convinced that if he can make a comeback, so can New Orleans, the city he still calls home.