Paige Ingram The brass band played a slow dirge as they led a procession of mourners down Littleton’s Main Street. In true New Orleans style, those …
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The brass band played a slow dirge as they led a procession of
mourners down Littleton’s Main Street. In true New Orleans style,
those trudging behind the pine coffin carried colorful umbrellas,
on their way to a wake featuring red beans, rice and cornbread.
As mourners made their way through downtown, emotions were
“The mood is melancholy,” said John Brackney, president of the
South Metro Chamber of Congress. “But with death is rebirth.”
Sharon Reeder, Centennial resident and longtime customer of
Turpenoff, found inspiration in the evening.
“I want to go like this. It shouldn’t be so sad,” she said.
“Just don’t let them drop me out of the coffin when they
Indeed, the pallbearers had a little fun of their own,
coordinating spins around the street.
The gathering wasn’t your typical funeral — the eulogy recipient
was, in fact, a logo.
Surviving the emblem was Tricia Turpenoff, owner of the
photography studio the logo has represented for many years.
When Turpenoff decided to update her studio’s logo, her
marketing director mentioned the funeral shtick. Having long been a
fan of New Orleans culture, this twist was right up her alley.
The funeral style comes from African spiritual practices, mixed
with French and Spanish martial musical traditions. Such funerals
were widespread in the New Orleans area in the early 20th century,
particularly for musicians. Typically, the funeral starts with a
procession to somber music. Once good-byes have been said, the
music turns upbeat and dancing begins.
Just like it would in the bayou, the music started slow as the
procession began. By the time the departed reached its destination
— at Details Boutique — the tempo quickened, and a party began.
No stranger to such off-beat occasions, Reinke’s Haunted Mansion
owner Greg Reinke officiated the service at Details.
Wearing a top hat and black tails, he said he was happy to have
the honor. Reinke ended the ceremony by burying the lapsed logo,
which was handed to him by an occupant of the coffin, a twist that
surprised the audience.
“I didn’t really know him,” he said of the logo, revealing for
once the gender of the deceased.
Giving Turpenoff an empathetic look, he added, “remember the old
thing in the Bible says we are but dust.”
Not all attending had a personal connection with the logo.
Lydia and Ken Washiewski were visiting downtown Littleton when
they saw the flyer promoting the event. The couple was in town from
Mt. Prospect, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, celebrating their 19th
It was an unexpected addition to their itinerary, but one they
were happy to adjust for, decorating their own umbrellas to liven
up the decor.
“We’ve never seen an event quite like this,” said Ken
“In any town,” his wife added, saying it’s likely to be an
anniversary they don’t forget.
“When can you go out of town and march in a parade?”
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