The Friendly Funeralista

In honour of Mardi Gras, A “Big Easy” Jazz Funeral

Posted on: February 17, 2010

Yesterday was Mardi Gras AKA Shrove Tuesday AKA Fat Tuesday, the day when Christians are to “pound back” the carbs in order to prepare for the lenten fast.  No one celebrates Mardi Gras like the citizens of New Orleans.  So in honour of Mardi Gras, I thought you might like to take a look at a traditional New Orleans Jazz Funeral.  This footage was provided by onenawlins, and shows the funeral of the late Kerwin James, tuba player, who died in October 2007.  The video is a little bit lengthy, but take the time to watch, it’s worth the wait.  A few things to note … you will see the pallbearers rocking the casket.  This is done so that the deceased is able to dance along with the rest of the friends to the music.  The music being played is “Just A Closer Walk with Thee” and is the traditional hymn played at jazz funerals.  I have posted the lyrics to the hymn below. 


Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

I am weak, but Thou art strong;
Jesus, keep me from all wrong;
I’ll be satisfied as long
As I walk, let me walk close to Thee.

Through this world of toil and snares,
If I falter, Lord, who cares?
Who with me my burden shares?
None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee.

When my feeble life is o’er,
Time for me will be no more;
Guide me gently, safely o’er
To Thy kingdom shore, to Thy shore.


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