This is New Orleans.
This is how we live. This is how we die.
Not everyone gets a jazz funeral. You have to be special. Yesterday’s mournful and joyous procession through the streets of the city was a testimony to an extraordinary woman, an extraordinary life. We will never forget Helen Hill.
Helen’s funeral had not one but two brass bands.
You should be so lucky to be so celebrated when your time comes.
I was rolling video so I didn’t take pictures. But some of my friends did. I’ve displayed a few above, by Dave and Derek and Howie. There are many more. Derek has a set of 35 pix. Howie has a set of 92 pix. Dave has a set of 173 pix. Schroeder has a set of 92 pix. Thanks, guys.
Helen’s brother Jake was visiting from New York. He served as the grand marshal. Later, I overheard him say that he’s “not angry at the city of New Orleans.” That’s a comforting sentiment, to be sure, and I am grateful he expressed it.
For my part, as a resident of the city, I am angry at New Orleans — and I count myself in that number. I am angry and ashamed of what we did to Helen. We seduced her here with our charms, and we killed her with our violence. How can we be so cruel?
But on days like yesterday, I am also proud of New Orleans, and the culture that Helen loved so much.
Update: Schroeder’s posted audio.