In Louisiana: Jazzman's Last Ride

Boom! A cannon shot from the Society Jazz Band bass drum jolts the chattering crowd outside the Gertrude Geddes Willis Funeral Home into a brief silence. The casket is coming out. Boom! A second shot signals the stricken cadence of a dirge. The white gloves of the pallbearers flash in the morning sun as they float their burden to the silver-gray Cadillac hearse. The main party of mourners, a score or so, fit themselves into several cars waiting in line.

Boom! Boom!

A cornet sings out the opening tones of a familiar old hymn. Quickly,...

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