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Ellis Marsalis memorial planned for Sunday

The famed jazz musician died from COVID complications in April 2020.

NEW ORLEANS — A memorial service and second line parade will be held in honor of famed New Orleans jazz musician Ellis Marsalis this Sunday, May 15.

The memorial comes more than two years after Marsalis died due to complications from COVID at the start of the pandemic in April 2020.

The Marsalis family announced that a private service by invitation only will be held at Gallier Hall from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The service will be followed by a public second line parade departing Gallier Hall, at 545 St. Charles Avenue, at 1 p.m. and proceeding to Congo Square, at 701 N. Rampart Street. A community repast will be held at the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, 1901 Bartholomew Street, from 4 to 8 p.m.

However, the family wishes to advise the community that indoor access to the repast will be limited due to building fire and capacity regulations. Access to outdoor activities will be available and unrestricted.

“While the 2020-2021 pandemic disallowed our community to properly honor, celebrate, and lay to rest our dearly departed piano patriarch, Ellis Marsalis Jr., due to large public gathering health precautions upon Ellis‘ transition in April of 2020, the Marsalis family now sees fit to invite all who cherished our beloved son, brother, husband, father, uncle, grandfather, musician, composer, teacher, professor, mentor, neighbor, and community leader to gather together this Sunday, May 15, at 1 p.m. and send up his spirit in our generational tradition," the family said in a statement.

In 2018, Marsalis received the Jazz Hero Award from the Jazz Journalists Association. The association said of Marsalis, "It would be difficult to overstate the impact pianist, educator and 2011 NEA Jazz Master Ellis Marsalis Jr. has had on modern jazz in New Orleans…Ellis Marsalis Jr., by staying in New Orleans, not only changed music history, he's made it."

Marsalis was 85 at the time of his death. Marsalis is considered to be amongst New Orleans' most legendary jazz musicians. His four sons, Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo and Jason, have also had legendary careers in jazz.

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