D.W. RHODES FUNERAL, NEW ORLEANS, LA– This year we say goodbye to “Big Al” Carson, born Alton T. Carson. All his 66 years of life, Carson enriched New Orleans’ music scene. For 25 years, he was a mainstay at the Funky Pirate Blues Club on Bourbon Street. Saturday, May 2nd was his official viewing at Rhodes Funeral Home. His send off was nuanced and soulful and utilized technology in ways that enabled family and friends to experience a taste of what a New Orleans Jazz Funeral is all about.
“Big Al’s service was definitely one for the history books. We created a drive in opportunity that gives family and friends social distance and also a chance to participate on-site for a ceremony almost big enough to commemorate his monumental legacy,” says Funeral Director Jasmine Navarre. There were few stoned left unturned for his service, which included a drive-up viewing and a live streamed musical tribute from within the chapel for the family; outside a drive-in movie inspired setup was available where additional family could park in the lot and view the celebration.
Carson’s nephew, Jude Zeno thinks fondly of his uncle saying, “he leaves a big void in our family as a whole, but in New Orleans he’s been a staple in the city forever. He never had a dull moment. He wasn’t a sad type person. He was always upbeat. We’re going to rejoice because we know that is the way he would want it.”
Even at a restrictive coronavirus time in the funeral industry, Big Al’s service seemed almost normal by New Orleans standards. The best lagniappe was knowing that Big Al Carson is still to be celebrated and Jude Zeno had these words to say, “the second line is going to come. For now we are going to abide by the rules and we’re going to send him off with the best party that we can. We’re going to make sure he goes home in style because that is the way he did it. Everything was with style and class.”
The funeral is Sunday and will be live streamed on Rhodes Funeral Homes’ Facebook page. If you would like to leave condolences, you may do so by clicking here.