Day of the Dead in New Orleans

by Angeliska on December 27, 2010

Thinking about New Orleans all the time, and worrying for all my friends there.
People are afraid to leave their houses, talking about buying shotguns, and
reinforcing their doors and the bars on their windows. It’s hard to think back
to a few short months ago when everyone’s guard was down, and we all sprawled
on the sidewalk like it was a sandy beach. I never really went through all my photos
from Day of the Dead, but I started feeling very hungry for so many sweet faces that
I wish I could be near right now, and remembering that the parade was the last time
I saw Flee alive. Always in the middle of a parade – Mardi Gras morning, 2006 was
the last time I saw Helen Hill, too. Ah, New Orleans. There couldn’t be a more perfect
metaphor for the river of life, though. Flowing through, doubling back, mourning,
celebrating, and dancing your heart out in the middle of the street. These processions
are sacred, necessary. Today is Flee’s second line, and I wish I could be there to ramble
through the streets in his honor, but sadly – the memories from this last parade will have
to be the next best thing. Taking part in these processions always reminds me how perfect
and powerful these simple rituals can be for joining a community together. The rest of the
country needs reminding. My goal is to create a real Day of the Dead procession here in
Austin next autumn. We desperately need it. There is a fun event that happens about a week
before the actual holiday, but it’s more family and kid-oriented, and happens during the day.
I want to organize a huge parade, with multiple bands, and everyone with calavera faces,
to go down to the river and light candleboats, and then parade back to a big dance party
with altars and mariachis – another Disko de los Muertos! I know I have to make it real.

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Darling Amanda Stone – this is my favorite picture from the whole night.
Her wings seem to be fluttering with light! What a beautiful + loving elf.

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La bella Alita!

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Pandora and her beloved Auntie Doreen made beautiful lanterns
to carry the memories of their muertos, which they set aflame by the river.

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Ladybabymiss aka. Miss O.

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Ryan Rossi representing Krewe du Poux!

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Calamity! So divine.

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I have forgotten this lovely beastmaiden’s name,
though I was so captivated by her ensemble.

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Isn’t she amazing? Here’s the view from the back.

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Calavera girl down by the water…

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At the river we sang a dirge for all the loved ones lost,
and people cast their memories and ashes into the great
Mississippi. Some brave fools waded in, and crossed over
to a sandbar, looking for all the world like dead souls dancing
in the mist, on the other side of life. It was surreal and magical.

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This dogpuppet danced on the drummer’s shoulders all night.
A kinetic effigy built in honor of his departed canine companion.

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Kozmo + Boo

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Me + Jay (Rusty Lazer)

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Oops + Grapetta

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My love + I drinking hot toddies at Pravda.
My teeth had all rubbed off from snot-faucet nose blowing,
as I was sick as a dog! I ignored it, and kept on trucking, though!

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Johna Goldenflame, Colin and Ratty’s disembodied head!

Jon Flee on Day of the Dead
(Photo byRachael Eastlund)
Jonny Flee’s last Dia de los Muertos. Next year we dance + mourn for him.

Jon Flee on Day of the Dead
(Photo by Sasha Kopfler)
So happy and full of life. Beautiful and defiant in the face of death.
Now he’s one of that bony krewe, waiting for us across the river.

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The last photo of the night – because a good laugh will do us all good.
It was a booty-pumpin’, animal-screamin’, jambalaya-clutchin’ kinda time
at the Hi-Ho Lounge that night. I think this image just about sums it up.

7 comments

I always think about Helen this time of year, close to her death. And I’m always haunted by what Dr. Paul said: that he was so reluctant to return to NOLA after Katrina, but that Helen insisted, that the city was ailing and sick and needed their help, needed that lifeblood there. He said he still thinks she would believe that, even after her death.

by Melissa on December 27, 2010 at 3:05 pm. #

yes, yes, we need a procession here. next year. i will help you make it happen however i can. <3

by lau on December 27, 2010 at 3:11 pm. #

Love, I will help in any way I can. Several of us in mmmb have wanted to create an event honoring the dead. It is needed, our community needs it, our spirits need it. -Datri

by Datri on December 27, 2010 at 4:19 pm. #

A procession here would be so lovely. Count me in for help!

Sorry to hear of the loss of your friend…

by Shanna on December 27, 2010 at 5:51 pm. #

this is so sad…i heard about his death from a friend this weekend. oh how i hope new orleans gets better for those who live there….and i am sorry for your loss

by Patience on December 27, 2010 at 8:01 pm. #

If a procession happens, I will be there. I’m so sorry about your friend. It has been a sad season for many.

by Lin on December 28, 2010 at 10:03 am. #

~Day of the Dead in Austin? I would come down from NY for that to honor Anthea of 3 of Cups.

by Rose on December 29, 2010 at 6:53 pm. #

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