Local logo takes final resting place

Posted 10/7/08

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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Local logo takes final resting place


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 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 mixed.

“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 twirl.”

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 wedding anniversary.

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 Washiewski.

“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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