Sunday, September 28, 2008


Is it okay to have a good time at a funeral? Coleen Salley wouldn't have had it any other way.

From the standing-room only church services, the 11 block jazz precession to her French Quarter condo, to the milk punch toasts in the courtyard--we celebrated our friend's life.

There were sweet moments throughout the day. One of my favorites was watching Freddi William Evans sign Coleen's wall. She'd always meant to join her name along side the other writers and illustrators.

After the reception I had lunch with Deborah Wiles and Walter Mayes at Willie Mae's where we told our Coleen stories.

Later the stories continued as we joined with Joan Stevenson, Traci Todd, and Terry Young at Irene's, a favorite eating spot of Coleen's. It is amazing how one person can truly touch so many lives and bring so many people together.

Earlier when I left Coleen's condo to meet Debbie and Walter, two tourists stopped and asked me, "What's going on?" Part of Chartre Street had been blocked off for the reception. I'm sure with the upbeat music playing and folks gathered in the street, laughing, the two women thought there was a big party going on. And there was.

I tried to answer them with a straight face. "It's a funeral reception."

"Oh," they softly said, walking away with confused expressions.

Coleen would have loved it!

For more Coleen coverage, visit my friend, Deborah Wiles' blog:

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