The Jazz Funeral for Fossil Fuels took place in Washington Square in the Faubourg Marigny on Sunday, September 17, from 2:00 to 6:00 in the afternoon.

About 200 people eventually participated, representing a cross-section of the people of New Orleans. There were five tents with chairs, Louisiana food catered by a local chef, a recycling exhibition with two employees who spoke with considerable knowledge and seriousness about the need for recycling in New Orleans. There were also four musical performances by local musicians committed to climate-change work.

Two keynote speakers set the context for the event: Ida Arenson of the Houma nation spoke of the on-going presence of Native people in North America and the care for Nature traditional among them. I, Robert Desmarais Sullivan, spoke of the New York March and other marches occurring worldwide at the same time. I also introduced the notion of a funeral for fossil fuel, explaining that the coffin placed in the middle of the tents was intended to receive handwritten notes with regrets for the harm caused by fossil fuels written on them, e.g., pollution, illnesses, destruction of natural beauty, etc. I also recommended using the coffin as a metaphor for burying the attachment to a “fossil-fuel culture” that is present in each one of us.

At 4:00, Jesse George of the Alliance for Affordable Energy made the final declarations about the destructiveness of fossil fuels, calling everyone to complete a note who had not done so and inviting people to join in a Second Line through the Lower French Quarter to celebrate our anticipated freedom from fossil fuels and the new culture we would build on clean energy.

After the return of the Second Line, people lingered as long as they wished to meet one another, share banana pudding and listen to a superb folk singer till 6:00.

The chief partners in organizing this event were Sunrise New Orleans, Gulf South for a Green New Deal, Greater New Orleans Interfaith Climate Coalition, and the First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans.

Since there will be a national conference in New Orleans in January of the companies that are constructing Liquid Natural Gas terminals, the organizers agreed that this climate march was a successful “dress rehearsal” for future action.

Check out these pix by Stephanie Tarrant.

Jazz Funeral for Fossil Fuels
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