(New Orleans, LA) My wife and I decided to walk from the French Quarter to the historic Saint Louis Cemetery this afternoon. While we were soaking up some of the history in the graveyard, a funeral procession entered the cemetery, complete with music provided by the Treme Brass Band.
I was familiar with the concept of a jazz funeral prior to my visit to Saint Louis, but of course I never witnessed such a sight in northern climes like Toledo and Detroit. The musicians and marchers snaked their way in between the above-ground tombs to their final destination, and I tried not to be the typical annoying tourist by interfering with the ceremony.
I was struck by the differences between the somber funeral processions to which I am accustomed and the celebratory joy of a jazz funeral. Certainly the late Drextal Brumfield's family grieved the loss of this young man, but I found the musical homage to be much more uplifting than the funerary dirges I am used to hearing.
While I hope to live many more decades, I hope that my own mourners would remember the happier times, and I would have no problem being serenaded by a jazz band on my way to the Pearly Gates.