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Getting Off at Elysian Fields: Obituaries from the New Orleans Times-Picayune

Getting Off at Elysian Fields: Obituaries from the New Orleans Times-Picayune

by John Pope
Getting Off at Elysian Fields: Obituaries from the New Orleans Times-Picayune

Getting Off at Elysian Fields: Obituaries from the New Orleans Times-Picayune

by John Pope


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No city in America knows how to mark death with more funerary panache than New Orleans. The pageants commemorating departed citizens are often in themselves works of performance art. A grand obituary remains key to this Stygian passage. And no one writes them like New Orleanian John Pope. Collected here are not just simple, mindless recitations of schools and workplaces, marriages, and mourners bereft. These pieces in Getting Off at Elysian Fields are full-blooded life stories with accounts of great achievements, dubious dabblings, unavoidable foibles, relationships gone sour, and happenstances that turn out to be life-changing.

To be sure, there are stories about Carnival monarchs, great philanthropists, and a few politicians. But because New Orleans embraces eccentric behavior, there are stories of people who colored way outside the lines. For instance, there was the doctor who used his plasma to make his flowers grow, and the philanthropist who took money she had put aside for a fur coat to underwrite the lawsuit that desegregated Tulane University. A letter carrier everyone loved turned out to have been a spy during World War II, and a fledgling lawyer changed his lifelong thoughts about race when he saw blind people going into a Christmas party through separate doors—one for white people and another for African Americans. Then there was the punctilious judge who got down on his hands and knees to edge his lawn—with scissors.

Because New Orleans funerals are distinctive, the author includes accounts of four that he covered, complete with soulful singing and even some dancing. As a popular, local bumper sticker indisputably declares, "New Orleans—We Put the Fun in Funeral."

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781496803757
Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
Publication date: 10/19/2015
Pages: 370
Sales rank: 1,077,090
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

John Pope, New Orleans, Louisiana, has written obituaries throughout his forty-four-year career in journalism and was a member of the New Orleans Times-Picayune team that won two Pulitzer Prizes, a National Headliner Award, and a George Polk Award for coverage of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

Table of Contents

Introduction 3

The Obituaries

Edith Rosenwald Stern 9

Alton Ochsner 14

Albert Walter Dent 21

Muriel Bultman Francis 25

Robert Gordy 27

J. Skelly Wright 29

Norman N. Newhouse 32

Allen "Black Cat" LaCombe 38

Caroline Durieux 41

Walker Percy 43

John Ognibene 48

Barbara Boggs Sigmund 50

Phyllis Dennery 53

Alvin B. Rubin 55

Thomas Bloodworth Jr. 58

William J. "Buzzy" Fanning 60

Victor H. Schiro 62

Jim Garrison 66

Carlos Marcello 70

Ted Wisniewski 76

Sam Wilson 79

John Schwegmann 82

Jules L. Cahn 86

Hazel Guggenheim MeKinley 88

Pierre Clemenceau 90

Brenda MacBeth 92

Charles L. "Pie" Dufour 94

Harry Bartlett Kelleher Sr. 97

Nellie May "Jack" Kelleher 99

Marjnrie Roehl 101

Rosa Freeman Keller 104

Elinor Bright Richardson 109

Mary Morrison 111

John Minor Wisdom 114

Enrique Alferez 119

Betty Werlein Carter 124

Myldred Plauché Landry 128

William V. Garibaldi Jr. 130

Eudora Welty 132

Jamie Shannon 138

James Roberts 141

Ruth Fertel 143

Charles J. Hatfield 147

Nchemiah Atkinson 149

Rodney Fertel 151

Iris Kelso 153

Bernice Norman 158

Homer Dupuy 160

Elizabeth Anderson 163

Sunny Norman 165

Haydel White Sr 169

Edward "Bud Rip" Ripoll 170

Albert Aschaffenburg 173

Harry Tervalon 175

Her Pope 177

Warren McDaniels 180

Al Copeland 182

Revius Ortique Jr. 188

Francis Fitzpatrick 192

Ruthie the Duck Girl 194

John "Wimpy" Miller Jr. 196

Luba Glade 198

Connie Marie Thomas 200

William Terral 202

Stocker Fontelieu 204

Fred Feran 207

Walter G. Cowan 209

Catherine Clark Mayer 213

Lambert Joseph "Bobby" Gonzales Jr. 215

Raul Bertuccelli 217

Sue Hawes 220

Jean Danielson 222

Andrew "Moo Moo" Sciambra 224

Jimmy Brennan 226

Wendy Roberts 228

Philip Henry McCrory Jr. 230

Jill Jackson 232

Bill Monroe 235

Jessie Poesch 237

Kathleen "Kathy" Vick 239

Henry George Schmidt 241

John "Johnny" Mosca 244

Richard "Buzzy" Gaiennie 247

Lala Dunbar 249

Taffy Maginnis 251

Yvonne "Miss Dixie" Fasnacht 253

Arthur Q. Davis 255

Judy Cobb 257

Barbara Wellam Songy 259

Dominic "Dom" Grieshaber Sr. 261

Luvenia Breaux 263

Jack Dempsey 265

Milton Wise 267

Diana Pinckley 269

Myrtle Mary Franichcvich Mary 272

Paul McIlhenny 273

Frank Polozola 275

Vernon Shorty 278

Charlotte Lang 280

Cyril "Big Chief Iron Horse" Green 282

Andre Victor Wogan 284

James j. Lynch Jr. 286

Mercedes Tucker Stamps 288

Joseph Sabatier Jr. 290

Dorothy "Miss Dot" Domilise 292

Bill Johnston 293

Barry Henry 296

Liselotte Levy Weil 298

Elvin Ragnvald "Vald" Heiberg III 300

Ruth Rogan Bencrito 302

Betty Guiilaud 304

Josie Marino Ortolano 307

George Rodrigue 309

Charles "Pete" Savoye 312

Emile E. Martin III 314

Fred Bronfin 316

Ervin Aden 317

Daniel Levy Jr. 319

Mickey Easterling 320

Ted Sternberg 323

Courtney Giarrusso 324

Rowena Spencer 326

Alden "Doc" Laborde 329

The Funerals

Warren McDaniels 335

Al Copeland 338

Revius Ortique Jr. 341

Lindy Boggs 344

Acknowledgments 347

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