A vital element of every New Orleans celebration (along with food and drink) is music, even when we celebrate death.
Our city’s most famous song, “When the Saints Go Marching In” is derived from a black gospel hymn and has traditionally been played at funerals. The song is played somberly at a slow tempo to start services and replayed at the end with a jovial, upbeat tempo to encourage the grieving family to celebrate their loved one’s journey to the next life.
While the origin of the song is unclear, its most popular version was recorded by Louis Armstrong in 1938.
– Amanda Fox, The 100 Companies