If Dolly Parton is the patron saint of empathy, Prince is the patron saint of weirdos. When Prince died in 2016, my first thought was wanting to call my Dad even though he has been dead for two decades. Prince was one of our mutual musical loves. Outside of Prince he leaned towards Peter Cetera, while I leaned towards Cyndi Lauper, but Prince was equally beloved by both of us. My Dad, who helped inspire my love of going to see for myself, drove us to First Avenue night club and around neighborhoods looking for his famously purple house. (It was pre-internet so we had no real clues- it was mostly driving and seeing if we got lucky.)
I had friends tell me their stories when Prince died. My friend Moxie spoke about Prince being her black queer role model. She acknowledged that he never identified as queer, but the high-heeled boots made her feel less weird and more part of a club. While all four of Prince’s grandparents were from Louisiana, he didn’t have any direct New Orleans connections. But he touched so many in a way that felt personal that a second line in his honor was organized.
The second line took place on Orleans Avenue in the Treme neighborhood, one of the most musically important neighborhoods in the country. There was a horse drawn carriage with a casket, the Baby Dolls and other groups in purple outfits, purple parasols, and thousands of people ready to dance.
Music came from stereos, bands, and people singing.
If you don’t like the world you’re living in
Take a look around you
At least you got friends
It helped to have the other weirdos around as we said goodbye to Prince. There will never be another person like him.