How Much Does a Jazz Funeral Cost?

Last Updated on January 21, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

A jazz funeral is a unique New Orleans tradition that celebrates the life of the deceased with a musical parade. But how much does it actually cost to organize one of these energetic and cultural celebrations?


  • Jazz funerals combine mourning and celebration with a brass band parade.
  • Jazz Funeral Costs range from $3,000 to $7,000 on average.
  • Major expenses include the band, funeral services, and parade permits.
  • Build a budget and research rates to plan finances.
  • Work closely with a brass band and funeral home to arrange the logistics.
  • Follow traditions for a meaningful way to honor the deceased’s life.

How Much Does a Jazz Funeral Cost?

Planning a jazz funeral involves various expenses, from hiring a brass band to arranging the funeral service. The total cost depends on factors like the size of the brass band, length of the parade route, and any custom elements you add.

Overall, the average price of a New Orleans Jazz funeral ranges from $3,000 to $7,000 for a traditional New Orleans jazz funeral.

According to, a basic jazz funeral, if you’re part of a social aid club, shouldn’t cost much. The main cost is hiring the band. The total cost of the funeral service, including the band, funeral flowers, and other elements, is expected to range from $3,000 to $10,000. notes that the cost of a jazz funeral, which includes pageantry and a full brass band, is noted to exceed the cost of a regular funeral. The website mentions that many people are opting for simpler and less expensive ceremonies, leading to the declining popularity of jazz funerals.

Read on for a detailed breakdown of jazz funeral costs, tips on building a funeral budget, and insights into this meaningful musical tradition.

The Origins and Significance of Jazz Funerals

Jazz funerals have a long, meaningful history in New Orleans. These lively parades date back to the late 1800s and originated in African American communities. The tradition combines mournful dirges as the casket is carried to the cemetery, followed by joyful, upbeat jazz celebrating the deceased’s life on the return trip.

This unique mix of grief and jubilation provides mourners an uplifting chance to honor their loved one. The festive music and public celebration reflect the community-oriented spirit of New Orleans. Jazz funerals represent a core part of the city’s cultural heritage.

Factors That Influence the Cost

Several main factors affect the overall price of a New Orleans-style jazz funeral:

  • Hiring a brass jazz band: $2,000 to $4,000
  • Funeral home services: $1,000 to $3,000
  • Second line parade permits: $100 to $500
  • Other costs: Varies based on additions like funeral programs, flowers, food, etc.

You might also like our articles about the cost of a funeral, grave blanket, or mausoleum.

The cost of the brass band makes up the biggest portion of the total budget. Let’s explore what exactly goes into planning and pricing a traditional jazz funeral.

Breaking Down Jazz Funeral Expenses

Hiring the Brass Band

The musical procession led by a New Orleans brass band is the heart of a jazz funeral. This is likely the biggest single expense, often ranging from $2,000 to $4,000.

The price varies based on:

  • Number of musicians and instruments needed
  • Hours required
  • Band’s reputation and experience with jazz funerals
  • Travel costs if based outside city

For an authentic experience, hire a seasoned band that knows how to lead a proper jazz funeral second line. Be ready to pay top dollar for the best in the city. You may need 8 to 10 musicians for a big parade.

Funeral Services

Work with a funeral home to arrange necessary services like preparing the body, casket rental, funeral vehicles, venues, staff, and permits. Add on extras like funeral programs, flowers, and mourner transportation.

Basic funeral services cost:

  • Cremation: $1,000 – $3,000
  • Burial: $2,000 – $7,000
  • Additional elements: $500+

When budgeting, research rates from local funeral homes. Cremation is generally cheaper than burial. Inform them you’re planning a jazz funeral to ensure proper coordination.

Second Line Parade Permits

Jazz FuneralA permit from the city is required for a large second line parade through public spaces. The fee depends on the size, location, and route.

Typical costs range from:

  • Small parade: $100 – $300
  • Larger parade: $300 – $500

Discuss the planned parade route and number of people with the funeral director to determine permitting needs. Some funeral homes can obtain the permit as part of their services.

Building a Jazz Funeral Budget

Constructing a funeral budget helps you allocate costs and plan financially for a jazz funeral. Here are some tips:

  • Get quotes from multiple brass bands and funeral homes. Compare rates.
  • Decide which elements are most important for honoring the deceased. Prioritize spending accordingly.
  • Calculate total hours for the band and any other variable costs.
  • Check if the deceased had a pre-paid funeral plan or insurance to help cover costs.
  • Set a maximum budget and see where you can scale back if needed, such as a shorter parade route.
  • Ask trusted funeral providers for budget-friendly options and discounts.

Leave a 10-20% buffer for unexpected costs. It’s important to throw a meaningful jazz funeral, but don’t go into debt doing so.

How to Plan an Authentic Jazz Funeral

Follow these steps for arranging an authentic New Orleans-style jazz funeral:

  1. Select a reputable brass band. Reach out to bands 6-8 weeks before the funeral date.
  2. Hire a funeral director to help coordinate all elements and provide services. They’ll guide you through the planning process.
  3. Choose funeral services. Select burial, cremation, venues, casket rentals, etc. Add any personal touches.
  4. Request parade permits for the second line route through the city.
  5. Confirm order of procession with band leader and funeral home.
  6. Print funeral programs detailing the ceremonies, parade route, and celebration of life.
  7. Promote jazz funeral by placing obituaries and inviting friends and family.

Leaning on the experience of the professionals you hire is key to pulling off a seamless jazz funeral.

Final Words

Embrace the spirited history of jazz funerals for a moving experience that reflects New Orleans’ vibrant culture. With proper planning, you can give your loved one a personalized musical farewell that stays within budget.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can anyone have a jazz funeral?

Traditional New Orleans jazz funerals are open to anyone who wants to take part in celebrating the deceased’s life. You don’t need to be a member of an organization or related to the deceased to join the second line parade. Jazz funerals are community events welcoming all who want to honor the person’s life.

What do you wear to a New Orleans jazz funeral?

Wear smart casual clothing in white, black, or purple, avoiding brightly colored clothes. Ladies often wear dresses and hats. Men wear suits or collared shirts. Comfortable shoes are ideal for walking the parade route. Avoid clothing with distracting logos or that is overly casual. Ask the funeral director for dress code guidance.

What is the difference between a jazz funeral and second line?

A jazz funeral is the full celebration including the funeral service, procession to the cemetery, and second line parade back. The second line specifically refers to the brass band leading dancing mourners through city streets after burying the deceased. The upbeat second line parade is the final jubilant piece of the jazz funeral tradition.

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