Thousands gather to honor Prince one last time

Marie Simoneaux, staff writer

A sea of purple flooded Treme on Monday in celebration of the life of the late pop star, Prince, after his unexpected death last week.

The memorial was done in true New Orleans style, complete with food, drinks, costumes and a sec- ond line. A purple-draped casket was pulled down Orleans Avenue by a mule-drawn carriage, followed by the crowd of dancing mourners as they made their way from the Ooh Poo Pah Doo bar, around the neigh- borhood and back.

Prince affected the lives of many, shown by the thousands who gath- ered in his remembrance. A crowd of strangers came together by their shared connection to two things: a beloved star and a beloved city.

Amongst the purple-clad paraders was Mary Parrish, who said Prince’s music allowed her to embrace and accept herself as she is.

“His music has touched my life because he knew who he was in the world and he wasn’t afraid to share it, and that inspires me to be more open to being who I am,” Parrish said.

James Andrews and Martha Alguera, the event’s organizers, said Prince’s death was felt by all.

“When a musician of this magnitude passes, it’s such a great loss for everyone, it touched all of us. The one thing we really felt strongly about is that being the musical city that we are, we had to do a second line,” Alguera said.

The choice to hold it in Treme was deliberate, she said, because they wanted it to be authentically New Orleans.

“It’s a place that really is one of the greatest musical neighborhoods in the world. We wanted to represent our city and our love for Prince in a way only New Orleans does,” Alguera said.

Natasha Daniels said Prince has been a presence throughout her life and that his death is a huge loss to the music community.

“I can remember from the first time I loved music, I loved Prince. Through all of his phases. I loved how he grew and I grew with him,” Daniels said.

Daniels said Prince’s unique confidence and the originality of his music is almost reflective of the style of the city.

“Aside from food, I think what people associate most with the city is music. I think it’s important for this beautiful city that loves music to pay homage, if you will, to one of the most original, greatest artists of our time,” Daniels said.

Parrish said she knows New Orleans had an effect on the artist’s mu- sic, and his life in general, because the city just has a way of doing that to people.

“Anyone who has ever visited New Orleans knows that New Orleans leaves an amazing impact on your life period. It gives you a different experience of living and being,” Parrish said.

Tanya Linnegar, New Orleans native, said there would be no better way than this to send him off.

“This is just a beautiful celebra- tion that could only be done by New Orleans in this style I am so happy to be here,” Linnegar said.

Among the color, the music and the love, organizers said they hoped that Prince would have felt right at home.

“The event was peaceful, loving and full of a positive vibe. I know, as a Prince fan, he would’ve approved of our gathering,” Alguera said.