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It was a beautiful night, the sunset pink in the sky up Dauphine Street. As we admired it, we noticed a gathering of people at the corner of France Street, just by J & J's Sports Bar.
"Must have had a good crowd," we thought, but then we looked closer. There seemed more to the crowd than just a football celebration.
"It's a second line for our friend Nate," said a young woman I asked. "We're going down to the levee."
Nathan Tinglof, also known as Neight, was thirty years old and had spent much of his adult life exploring the world, riding freight trains all over the United States. He played his guitar for cash, and liked to draw. He'd settled down in New Orleans a few years ago. I didn't know him, but I'd seen him plenty of times in the neighborhood, riding his distinctive double-height bicycle, a guitar case strapped to his back and his long dreadlocks streaming out behind him.
Early Friday morning, Neight was shot in the chest and died at the corner of Villere and Arts Street in the St. Roch area. Police still haven't identified the suspect.
Here in the Bywater, his friends were giving him a New Orleans send-off.
The parade passed by as we sat in front of Vaughans. Bicyclists wove in and out of the crowd, some on the crazy double-decker bikes Neight admired.
Alongside the crowd rolled a pedal-powered wagon displaying a hot-tub full of mourners - in remembrance of a birthday celebration a few years past that had Neight and a group of friends driving around the French Quarter, drinking champagne while splashing in a hot tub on a pick-up truck bed.
The coming dusk and the steam-punk themed black clothing of the mourners conjured up a somber air that was leavened by the rollicking brass band, waving flags, and twinkling lights, as well as the love and affection expressed for a man considered by all who knew him to be a great friend.