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Joyous funeral marches a highlight of New Orleans festival

1 year 8 months 3 weeks ago April 30, 2015 Apr 30, 2015 Thursday, April 30 2015 April 30, 2015 5:26 AM in News
Source: Associated Press
By: Stacey Plaisance

NEW ORLEANS- Amid the music, food and fanfare of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is a sight some may find surprising: a funeral procession.

Fest-goers hold up cameras and iPhones as a brass band leads a procession of mourners holding photographs of their beloved departed and dancers carrying feather fans strut and sway, hoisting umbrellas and waving handkerchiefs.

Once a fixture of the city streets, the uniquely New Orleans tradition known as a jazz funeral has become common at Jazz Fest.

Two such memorial processions were held the first weekend of the festival and another is scheduled for Friday.

They start with a slow, solemn dirge, often "A Closer Walk With Thee," and then build to a celebratory street party, with up-tempo music and dancing honoring the departed.

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