Everything You Need to Know About New Orleans Funerals

A funeral is a time for mourning, remembrance, and celebration of a life well-lived. It is an event that is deeply personal and filled with emotion, tradition, and ritual. In New Orleans, funerals are filled with rich culture, history, and tradition that make them unique and special. From the second line parades to jazz funerals, New Orleans funerals are one of a kind.

History of Funerals in New Orleans

Funerals in New Orleans have a long history that dates back to the city’s earliest days. In the 1700s, funerals were a time for family and friends to gather and pay their respects, as well as to celebrate the life of the deceased. In the 1800s, funerals began to take on a more elaborate form, with the addition of music and other forms of entertainment. It was at this time that the second line parades and jazz funerals began to gain popularity.

Second Line Parades

Second line parades are a traditional form of funeral procession in New Orleans. It is believed that the tradition began during the 1800s when African-Americans would march from the church to the cemetery, playing music and singing in honor of the deceased. Today, second line parades are often held for funerals as a way to honor and celebrate the life of the deceased. The procession usually starts at the church and ends at the cemetery, with members of the family and friends walking behind a jazz band playing music.

Jazz Funerals

Jazz funerals are another traditional form of funeral procession in New Orleans and are closely related to second line parades. A jazz funeral typically starts with a slow march and somber music, representing the mourning of the deceased. As the procession reaches the cemetery, the music changes to a more upbeat and lively tempo, representing the celebration of the deceased’s life. This type of funeral procession often includes music and dancing, as well as a parade of family and friends.

Traditional Burial Practices

In traditional New Orleans funerals, the body of the deceased is typically buried in a cemetery or crypt. In the Catholic tradition, the body is often given a traditional Catholic funeral mass and is then buried in a cemetery or crypt. In some cases, the body may be buried in a mausoleum or tomb. The body may also be cremated and the ashes scattered in a cemetery or some other special place.

Funeral Customs

Funerals in New Orleans often include a variety of customs and rituals. It is customary for friends and family to gather at the home of the deceased prior to the funeral service to pay their respects. A traditional wake is held at the home of the deceased, usually with music, food, and drinks. After the funeral service, a second line parade may be held, with music and dancing, to honor the deceased. Other customs include adorning the home of the deceased with flowers and candles, as well as providing food and drinks for the guests.

Funeral Costs

The cost of a traditional New Orleans funeral can vary greatly depending on the type of service, burial or cremation, and other factors. On average, a traditional funeral service can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $10,000. This includes the cost of the casket, burial or cremation, and other related costs such as the funeral home services, musician fees, and flowers.

Final Thoughts

Funerals in New Orleans are steeped in rich culture, history, and tradition. From the second line parades to the jazz funerals, these unique and special ceremonies are a celebration of life and a time for remembrance and mourning. A traditional New Orleans funeral is an event filled with emotion, tradition, and ritual, and one that will be remembered for many years to come.

Conclusion

New Orleans funerals are a unique and special type of funeral that is steeped in rich culture, history, and tradition. From the second line parades to the jazz funerals, these ceremonies are a time for remembrance, mourning, and celebration of life. The cost of a traditional New Orleans funeral can vary greatly depending on the type of service and burial, but on average, can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $10,000.