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Grey Cross Studios
1920 4th St, New Orleans , LA 70113
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(BTC) Death Rains and Jazz Funerals (Grey Cross)

Few outside of New Orleans have ever seen a Jazz Funeral. In fact the idea of having a band and dancing at a funeral is probably heretical to some. But here they celebrate death, not mourn it. For the few tourists who get to see one, its like glimpsing the secret burial rites of some mysterious religion. 

In my years in New Orleans I've seen many Jazz Funerals both as photographer and mourner.  The white death coach always seems to remind us of the solemnity amongst the gaiety.

The "Death Rains" image came from a jazz funeral I attended in 2011 for the death of a close friend who was one of the cities well known drag performers. 

Now let me tell you that a jazz funeral is already fascinating on its own, but when you add several hundred drag queens to the mix, you get one of the most amazing funerals I've ever attended. The funeral coach in the piece of art was just beginning to make its trek through to the French Quarter. The bands were forming up and the coach slowly clop clopped across the neutral ground of Elysian Fields Avenue with the huge live oaks hanging down over it, forming almost a cave of branches that stretched away behind it as it made the turn. For just a moment the sky darkened and everyone fell silent before the bands began to play and the sun came out again. A memorable moment to say the least. Here are a few other shoots from that funeral. Oh...and umbrella's. Always umbrella's at Jazz funerals! 

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