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New Orleans Says Goodbye to Bo Dollis

A Big Chief of the people

Bo Dollis
Bo Dollis, New Orleans Jazz Fest 2012
Pallbearers carrying the casket of New Orleans' Bo Dollis, 2-15

“He is never to be left alone.” That was the message delivered to members of New Orleans’ Mardi Gras Indian community at a meeting held shortly after the Jan. 20 death of Wild Magnolias Big Chief Theodore Emile “Bo” Dollis. He was 71 and had battled a spate of health problems for nearly a decade.

Preparations were being made for Dollis’ final appearances: at the Carver Theater in the Treme neighborhood, where he would lie in state prior to a musical celebration of his life led by his son; and at his funeral the following day, which would conclude with a large musical procession through the streets. In each setting, the Mardi Gras Indian Queens overseeing the weekend’s “life celebration” wanted their Big Chief surrounded by trusted members of the community.

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