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Thousands Celebrate Prince at New Orleans Second Line Parade

Thousands of locals celebrate the life of Prince at the second line memorial parade  on April 25, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Ryan Theriot/Getty Images

Thousands of locals celebrate the life of Prince at the second line memorial parade  on April 25, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. 

The Treme neighborhood of New Orleans was a purple sea of parasols, balloons, wigs and boas on Monday night, as thousands of people honored Prince with an exuberant "second line" parade — a traditional New Orleans celebration, led by brass bands.

The event started at Oo Poo Pah Doo Bar, where singer-cellist Monica McIntyre read a poem written by fellow New Orleans musician Arsene DeLay. The bar is owned by Trombone Shorty's family and his brother, James Andrews, lead the second line with his Crescent City All-Stars band and Chief Alfred Doucette, who donned a purple "Prince of Peace" Mardi Gras Indian costume.

The musicians and dancers followed a hearse with a purple light on top and a horse-drawn carriage leading a casket draped in purple cloth. At one point during the procession, three men crawled on top of a rooftop to dance enthusiastically as the costumed crowd cheered below.

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The Prince fans towards the back of the massive second line burst out into a rendition of "Kiss," drinking and smoking as they sang, carrying signs with the musician's image and parasols with his iconic symbol drawn on it. Mark Ruffalo even participated in the celebration, but he did so behind a mask, blending in with the rest of the crowd. Ruffalo shared a photo of himself at the parade following the event.

"When a musician of this magnitude passes its such a great loss for everyone," event organizer Martha Alguera told Billboard. "The one thing we really felt strongly about is being the musical city that we are, we have to do a second line."

"We really wanted it to be authentic New Orleans, that's why we set it up in Treme, to be in a place that really is one of the greatest music neighborhoods in the world," said Alguera, who planed the second line with Andrews. "We wanted to represent New Orleans and our love for Prince."

The second line finished where it began, with the sunset providing a gorgeous backdrop as the Prince fans sang "Purple Rain" in unison, many tearing up as they wished an emotional New Orleans goodbye to the legendary musician.