CJ was a beloved person in my neighborhood. She and her late husband held a place in the hearts of so many people that lived, worked, and played in what is known as the "Barmuda Triangle" of the Bywater - a three-block area housing Vaughans Lounge, BJ's Lounge, and the J & J Sports Lounge.
I never met CJ. But I was sitting at the bar at Vaughans last week when people learned that she had passed, and I could tell by their reactions how much they loved her.
Saturday, a celebration of her life was held, and because this is New Orleans, it was marked by a second line parade that started at Vaughans, and then snaked around the block, stopping at the other two watering holes.
"Here to celebrate our sister as we begin to come and to gathering today.
Know that although her flesh part has left us, her synergy self spirit still circles round above.
Each of us that she touched she is with us in spirit
And let us know begin to give that life walking home for her.
And let us rejoice and live the life that she would have expected us to
Rejoice even in our sadness."
"She was a refined woman!" said one mourner.
"Yes she was," said another. "And funny, and smart."
Then the assembled company took to the street.
As we walked, under the grey December sky, beneath the towering cypress trees that line Lesseps Street, we sang, our song accompanied by the diminished chord-like horn of the train that punctuates our lives here in the Bywater.
"Here come the Indians! Hoo nah nay!"