New Orleans Day of the Dead Celebration

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“This tradition is the bridge between our dead and us,” said Roberto Carrillo, procession organizer with the Krewe De Mayahuel.

With candles in hand and searing sage in the air, the streets of Saint-Roch were crowded Tuesday for the annual Day of the Dead procession, the last night of the multi-day vacation.

The rally, which started at Marigny Street and North Villere Street and ended at St. Roch Cemetery, is a Mexican tradition sprinkled with New Orleans style so people can remember those who died this year.

“This tradition is the bridge between our dead and us,” said Roberto Carrillo, procession organizer with the Krewe De Mayahuel.

Carrillo says this year’s rally is specifically aimed at honoring the millions of people lost around the world to COVID.

“It has been a difficult year, there are a lot of people who have left us in this pandemic,” Carrillo said.

A similar sentiment on the part of Louisa Lickman, a social worker, who came especially to pay tribute to the many healthcare workers lost in the early days of the pandemic.

“The ritual is really important. I think that’s a way of honoring the ritual, and it’s a ritual of celebrating the dead, ”Lickman said and she’s not the only one with that feeling.

“It’s a reminder that we’re still here and that we want to celebrate the lives as well as the lives we’ve lost,” said Margie Perez, “And that’s the best way to do it.”

In addition to honoring these lost lives, many here say that an event like this, for some their first since Mardi Gras 2020, allows them to connect with their neighbors and friends in person rather than through a video screen.

“Because, yeah, there’s the zoom and video calling or whatever, but nothing beats human warmth,” Carrillo said.

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