CBS newsman Ed Bradley was a big fan of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, KATC-TV reports. On Friday, the Jazz Fest honored his memory and his two decades of support with an opening day jazz funeral procession, complete with two brass bands. Bradley, who died in November, had wanted to be remembered at the festival with a “second line” parade, so called because watchers often fall in to form a second line of paraders. “He put it in his will. He wanted a second line and a New Orleans brass band and Quint Davis to put it all together,” said his widow, Patricia Blanchet.
Davis, the festival producer, unveiled two portraits of Bradley painted on large pieces of wood _ one a larger-than-life picture of his face, the other showing Bradley in a golf cart that he used to drive to get from stage to stage at the festival. The portraits will be part of the festival’s annual “ancestors” exhibit, likenesses of people important to the festival and it’s musical legacy. His voice breaking, an emotional Davis said: “We are happy to be sad and say, `You will always be here at Jazz Fest.'”
Davis introduced singer Jimmy Buffett as the person who first brought Bradley to the festival in the 1980s, and the first to pull him up on stage and hand him a tambourine. “Bless you Father for bringing us a really bad tambourine player but a great friend,” Buffett said Friday. Buffett took credit for giving Bradley the nickname “Teddy Badly.”
About 45 of Bradley’s friends participating in the parade wore small green pins with the name “Teddy” printed on them.
Bradley’s admirers began posting suggestions that he be honored with a jazz funeral on the festival Web site’s message boards soon after his death. Someone signing in as “chicagomike” wrote, “I make a motion to request a Ed Bradley Funeral Parade at the 2007 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
Other fans followed up with stories of meeting Bradley at music clubs around New Orleans and of seeing him on stage at the Jazz Fest. “Breambob” wrote of admiring Bradley’s bravery reporting from Vietnam in the ’70s, and telling him so when Bradley stepped up next to him at a New Orleans bar in the early ’90s. “I offered to buy him a drink and told him that story. He insisted on buying me one. Kind, generous, wise and extremely talented. And he truly loved New Orleans,” Breambob wrote.
In a CBS interview the day after Bradley’s death, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis told Steve Kroft of 60 minutes that Bradley loved sharing a stage with musicians. “He would be up on the stage, you know; he wanted to be playing with cats. So he’d get him a tambourine,” Marsalis told Kroft.