New Orleanians, News

PHOTOS: Community gathers to Remember Sylvester Francis, founder of the Backstreet Cultural Museum

Francis was 73 years old

Voodoo Queen Kalindah Laveaux, left, and Monogram Hunters 2nd Chief Jeremy Stevenson, center, celebrate the life of Sylvester “Hawk” Francis at the Backstreet Cultural Museum in the Treme Neighborhood of New Orleans, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020, after Francis passed from a long illness. He was 73 years old.

His son Sylvester Francis, Jr., wearing white mask, danced to the music of the Treme Brass Band and a band led by trombonist Corey Henry. During a break trumpeter Kermit Ruffins played a solo of “I’ll Fly Away.” After its founding in 1999 the museum became a gathering point for Mardi Gras and Carnival revelers, Black Masking Indians, Baby Dolls. The Northside Skull and Bone Gang started Mardi Gras every year from the museum to wake up Mardi Gras revelers at dawn’s first light. Francis was a member of Gentlemen of Leisure Social Aid & Pleasure Club and many Indians including Big Chief Victor Harris, top left, of the Spirit of FiYiYi and Mandingo Warriors donated their beautiful suits to the museum and FiYiYi would often gather at the museum for Fat Tuesday and St. Joseph’s Night on March 19th. FiYiYi little spy boy T.J. Polite, age 3, played drums.