Erykah Badu, Rebirth Brass Band and a Late-Night Funeral Procession for Main Street

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Photos by Mike Brooks
Shortly after the clock struck just past midnight Sunday, Erykah Badu, behind the wheel of a matte black Stingray, led a funeral procession down Main Street -- not far, mind you, just from Pegasus Plaza at Main and Akard to the front door of PM Nightlife Lounge at The Joule, which is all of, what, 407 feet. A band trailed behind Badu, their soundtrack morphing from mournful to joyful along the abbreviated route, and not just any band but the Rebirth Brass Band, who filled downtown with a big, brief blast of their New Orleans-imported heavy funk. Behind them: a hearse.

The event, after which Badu was to deejay till the wee small hours, was intended to mark the adios of the lounge in the hotel's basement, which is now closed as Joule owner Tim Headington begins that much-talked-about expansion that will see the danceteria turned into a screening room and recording studio. But it was also something bigger: "a funeral for Main Street as it is today, before its rebirth," in the words of one of Badu's business partners, Paul Levatino. Which is why there were camera crews on hand to capture the brief, wonderful moment -- prolonged when Badu, clad in top hat and trench coat, danced among the band and onlookers who'd joined in and filled up the closed-off Main Street. A film of some sorts is in the works; details remain a bit blurry.

But in coming days there will be much action to document: City officials confirmed this week that the old Praetorian at 1607 Main -- the tallest skyscraper in the West upon its completion in 1909 -- is being prepared for its imminent demise, with interior demolition and abatement taking place at this moment. Theresa O'Donnell, head of Sustainable Development, says that according to the plans at present: "One half of the building will be dismantled; the other half will be imploded." Those historic buildings next to it are either gone already or about to meet the wrecking ball. Last night the funeral procession was as much for them as for a dance club; those buildings deserve their proper send-off, after all.

A slide show is in the workshere; till then, look out below.

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16 comments
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Karmisha Little
Karmisha Little

That's my girl! Always making a statement. You can always count on her to stir up cultural and political pot. I aspire to be so convicted about anything. Luuuuvs her!

Sincerely,Karmisha Little/Huge Fan/Dopest make up artist I know Hit me when ur in LA Littlmsmakeup@att.blackberry.net

Douglas
Douglas

I went, it was not nearly as impressive as it reads and looks.

Jilly
Jilly

Wondering how many fun-lovers were jacked before, during or after this gala.....

Wayfair Coupon
Wayfair Coupon

I love this song with Erykah Badu and Stephen Marley but can't find the instrumental version anywhere online. Do any of you know where it might be? 

Desirae Donnell
Desirae Donnell

Can't believe I am out of town and missed this - hopefully there's a video floating around somewhere....

Nikki Taylor
Nikki Taylor

Aw damn! I missed the 2nd line. Guess I'll have to get my fill at Mardi Gras this year.

Downtown_worker
Downtown_worker

I wish all of Dallas felt this way about Main Street's future. How cool would it be if everyone bought in to the idea of reviving a long-stagnant part of the city that is so vital to its character. 

Downtown Resident
Downtown Resident

Agreed. So pissed off I missed this (stupid work), but love hearing about anything going on  with the revitalization of Main Street.

Rangers100
Rangers100

F.

I wish I'd known about this. After a late night Friday, I stayed in and was doing nothing at home just around the corner. Would have loved to watch the parade.

Lisa Taylor
Lisa Taylor

wow...so sorry to have missed this, but I hope to get my Rebirth dose at New Orleans JazzFest coming up in April and May...

Holmes
Holmes

Non venturous types like myself will have to settle for the streaming WWOZ feed.

Gus Mitchem
Gus Mitchem

Dont sweat it, NOLA acts tend to play a bit different when in a foreign land

Its just not the same outside of LA

Jon Daniel
Jon Daniel

I don't know, man. Rebirth Brass Band at the Kessler last year was pretty damn good

Jon Daniel
Jon Daniel

This will be the first year I have no gone in 6 years. I'm crushed. You should go!  (oh and make sure you throw some cash at WWOZ every year)

Doug in DFW
Doug in DFW

Three guesses on what was in the hearse - a case of Dublin Dr. Pepper, Tom Leppert's Senate campaign, and an unfilmed The Good Guys script.

Gangy
Gangy

I love her creativity and energy!

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