1/18/2007, 2:58 p.m.
NEW ORLEANS "Jazz clarinetist Pete Fountain says he will be back on the parade route on Mardi Gras this year .
"I can't wait, I missed the heck out of it all year long," Fountain said. "After 45 years you don't just give something up."
Fountain will be making his 46th trek from Commander's Palace to the French Quarter with the 165 members of his "Half-Fast Marching Club."
Krewe of Blarney
Resurrection of the Krewe of Blarney Halfast Walkin' Klub occured for the 14th Annual Eureka Springs St Paddy's Day Parade in 2007. Kaptain Dan Ellis organizer of the only Walking Parade on the Mississippi Gulf Coast has kept it alive after Hurricane Katrina. The Krewe of Blarney is a take-off from the legendary Pete Fountain Half-Fast Marching Club of New Orleans, in which Ellis was involved.
After its 11th year, Hurricane Katrina suspended the annual tradition of a joyous VIP pre-parade party and Wearin' of the Green along the Gulf of Mexico beachfront until 2011.
The Parade was sponsored and paid for by a small group of businessmen who ended up at a FREE-For-ALL OPEN-TO-THE-PUBLIC - - - Corn Beef, Green Cabbage, Orange carrots and Green Beer Soiree honoring the Irish and all Irish Wannabees.
On Jazz Funerals
When the final day arrives, funeral plans complete, a procession to the church would form. First in the line-up is the funeral hearse, drawn usually by four black horses and then followed by immediate family members. Behind, a group of musicians would be followed by friends and acquaintances. With the completion of church services, on the way to the cemetery the music would be slow and solemn. Once the body was entombed and the final blessings given, the band would play joyful, fast, and loud music to acknowledge the deceased had achieved the ultimate goal of meeting his maker.
Even before "Jazz" originated, Irish immigrants initiated the above process in what they called "Musical Funerals." — And, no Irish gentleman in his right mind went directly home. Family and friends would stop by a local "pub" to "wash away the cemetery dust."
Jazz Funerals became an adaptation of the Irish musical funerals with the same form of procession, except that frequently "jus' strangers" would file in rank to emulate the "mourners." Those who followed behind the family and musical group became known as "Second-liners." Because semi-tropical New Orleans was subject to daily showers in the summer months, many mourners carried umbrellas as protection from rain and sun. With the humidity and the heat of the day, marchers constantly mopped their brows with their handkerchiefs.
Eventually, umbrellas became decorated and the waving of kerchiefs double as banners. Thus said, everyone can be part of a second-line, even if it means just waving a hat or a fan in tune to the music. A peppy step is all that's added.
Krewe of Blarney