Laurel renames street for opera legend Leontyne Price

LAUREL, Miss. – Laurel will name one of its streets after opera legend Leontyne Price.

Price was born and raised in Laurel.

In the 1950’s and 60’s she became one of the first African-Americans to be internationally recognized in opera.

The now 88-year-old has won 19 Grammy’s and three Emmy’s.

The current Beacon Street will be renamed Leontyne Price Boulevard.  

“We felt like it would be a great tribute to her to name something lasting after her so that everyone will know who she is, what she did, and how much she meant to Laurel,” said Mayor Johnny Magee.

Those who grew up with Price say she was very popular in Laurel, where her musical talents were inspiring.

“She sang in the choir. She played the piano. And anything that they needed somebody to do around here, they usually called Leontyne,” said Margaret Cooley, Price’s childhood friend.

Price sang on stages and televisions screens all throughout Europe.

In the states she wowed audiences at the New York Metropolitan Opera House, Broadway and even the White House. 

Mayor Magee says street signs will be changed in the next few months. Price will be welcomed back to Laurel for an unveiling ceremony.

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