A Haiku for New Orleans

after the funeral

raised parasol

resurrected soul

Second Line Send off

The NaHaiWriMo prompt for July 13 is “parasol.” My flash fiction piece, “Last Wishes,” posted to the blog yesterday, incorporated characters from New Orleans that had been affected by Katrina. With those images still in my mind, I thought of the parasols in the “second line” of a jazz funeral.

In a traditional jazz funeral in New Orleans, there is a funeral march, as instrumentalists play a funeral dirge on the way to the burial site. Mourners walk with the band behind the funeral carriage, often carrying parasols to hide from the scorching Louisiana sun.

After the funeral, the focus is on a celebration of the soul’s resurrection and a joyous remembrance of the life that was lived. There is a second march, this time to the venue of the celebration. This is known as the “second line,” a wonderful send-off to Heaven with rollicking jazz and dancing in the street. Those with parasols often twirl and lift them up in rhythm with the music, signifying the upward movement of the loved one’s spirit.

The beautiful photo above depicts a “second line” march for New Orleans, celebrating the city’s recovery on the fifth anniversary of Katrina. The photo was taken by Ryan H. Martin and shared on Flickr.com. Thank you, Ryan! To see Ryan’s photostream on Flickr, click here.


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