NPHW celebration of Dr. Leach’s life!
Thanks to all who came out yesterday for our National Public Health Week Celebration of Dr. Rice Leach’s life and career. Here are some pictures from the fun luncheon (more to follow from a professional photographer from Lexington city government), with details sent to all staff about the day below:
(Remember to click on an image to see a larger version)
Today’s celebration of Dr. Leach’s life/career and National Public Health Week (11 a.m.-1:30 p.m., third-floor conference rooms) will feature a New Orleans-style jazz band performing tunes traditionally associated with jazz funerals and Second Line ceremonies. These are part of the New Orleans culture, which Dr. Leach often commented on when sharing stories about his time running a hospital in Louisiana.
A typical jazz funeral begins with a march from the home/funeral home/church to the cemetery, with the band playing somber songs. Later, though, the ceremony changes to a more festive occasion, with the band playing more upbeat numbers typically associated with a Dixieland band. Participants are encouraged to dance and sing along as part of the celebration of life. Those who follow the band just to enjoy the music are called the Second Line, and they often take part by dancing, twirling parasols or waving handkerchiefs.
So what does this have to do with Dr. Leach? When I worked with him, he often mentioned how much he loved watching the jazz funerals and Second Line marches while in New Orleans. When planning this celebration, we thought it would be a fitting tribute to Dr. Leach by providing him with the send-off he’d always talked about having.
In typical Dr. Leach fashion, he beat us to it: during yesterday’s services in Frankfort, the priest announced that some of the music wouldn’t be traditional funeral songs. Instead, Dr. Leach had asked if a Dixieland band could perform, much to the delight of the crowd. Mrs. Leach, a former ballerina with a life-long love of dancing, literally danced down the aisle with the box containing his ashes, smiling and laughing the entire time.
It was beautiful.
You don’t have to sing. You don’t have to dance. We just want you to come celebrate with us today. Enjoy some Bourbon n’ Toulouse. Share stories about Dr. Leach. Look at pictures from his time at LFCHD. Laugh. Cry. Maybe a little bit of both.
And if you want to sing and dance, well, have at it. Today, we celebrate.