National Museum of Funeral History presents "Jazz Funerals of New Orleans" opening day

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Jazz Funerals of New Orleans
Photo courtesy of National Museum of Funeral History

The National Museum of Funeral History will open its 16th permanent exhibit, "Jazz Funerals of New Orleans."

The exhibition will focus on the late 1800s through today in New Orleans, Louisiana, on how a common way to bid farewell to a loved one originated with a jazz funeral or a funeral with music that is now a tradition unique to the city of New Orleans, especially among the African American community.

New Orleans has a rich and fascinating history. The convergence of the French, Spanish and British who colonized the area paired with the West African tribes from the domestic slave trade in the early 1900s, significantly attributed to this colorful culture.

Other influences in the early 20th century include the Mardi Gas Indians (carnival performers who dress in suits influenced by Native Americans), and the African American Protestant churches. They celebrated with their black brass bands after a loved one’s death to please the spirits who protect the dead.

From all of this, a new style of music emerged – jazz. The funeral bands quickly adopted jazz, and New Orleans jazz funerals were born. This jazz music is unique and quite different from contemporary jazz or even traditional Dixieland jazz.

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National Museum of Funeral History
415 Barren Springs Dr.
Houston, TX 77090-5918

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