He Loved to Dance
With New Orleans-style farewell, friends, family bid adieu to man who fled Katrina
Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor

Friends and family in the “Second Line” sing and dance to mark the death -- and life -- of Carl Guimont Wednesday at Restlawn Memorial Park.
Staff Photo By Kerry Craig

Feb. 9, 2006 -- Carl Guimont was among the thousands who fled New Orleans in the hours before and the days after Hurricane Katrina all but destroyed The Big Easy.

Most who fled the storm left everything behind, but Carl held to his strong faith and the spirit that was, and is, New Orleans -- a love of life and living.

And, friends and family say, he loved to dance.

For more than two decades, he was a porter at Mardi Gras Truck Stop in New Orleans where he took joy in his work, the people he met, and in dancing.

Carl and his sister Isabel were among those that first sought refuge in the Superdome and later boarded a bus bound for safety in Texas. The first stop was Houston, but there was no room. The same was true for Dallas, and Carl's bus was directed to Sulphur Springs and the shelter at Wesley United Methodist Church.

With nothing left in Louisiana, Carl and his sister made Sulphur Springs their home.

Last Thursday, Carl died.

His extended family was splintered throughout the country, with many living in Houston and others still in Louisiana. The death brought the family together for the first time since the hurricane to pay their last respects to brother Carl. 

They sent him off in true New Orleans style.

With friends and family at the graveside, Wesley United Methodist Pastor Steve Davis told of Carl's love for life, his strong faith, and the special friendship that Davis shared with Carl. The Rev. Davis also talked of Carl's love for dancing.

As the final prayer ended, flowers from the casket were handed to family and friends, Emmanuel Morris began to sing "I'll Fly Away," and the culture and spirit of New Orleans became evident.

Portable compact disc players were brought out, and with the music of New Orleans echoing across the cemetery, family and friends joined in a celebration of the life of Carl Guimont.

The "Second Line" of friends and family marched and danced their way out of the funeral in true Mardi Gras fashion that lifted the spirit and reminded that Carl Guimont found joy in love, life and living.

And that Carl loved to dance.

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