Supporters of Sylvester Francis’s vision of cultural preservation, Backstreet Cultural Museum’s All Saints’ Day parade
Oswald “Bo Monkey” Jones (left of center, with hat and umbrella) is the grand marshal. Other participants are Merline Kimble (foreground, center) and Duplynn Joan Rhodes (right of center, in black suit). James Andrews and the Treme Brass Band follow. These supporters of Sylvester Francis’s vision for the community curation of Black masking and second line history and culture had been with him since the opening of the museum in 1999. Rhodes, who was then president of Rhodes Life Insurance Company, suggested that Francis take over the defunct Blandin Undertaking Company’s building, which the Rhodes family owned. Francis moved his collection from his garage to this new exhibition space. When Francis began organizing the annual All Saints’ Day parade, Oswald served as the first grand marshal, and his brother Benny, drummer and leader of the Treme Brass Band, provided the music. The benefactors’ commitment to the parade would endure for two decades.