NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - One of New Orleans’ most influential musicians was memorialized in style in Broadmoor Tuesday afternoon (July 30).
Dozens turned out to pay tribute to the founding member of the Neville Brothers and the Meters, a week after he died at 81 years old. Sadness laid over the crowd, but it was tinged with happy memories as Neville’s friends, fans and family came to Rhodes Funeral Home to remember the man known as Poppa Funk.
Neville’s contributions to the influential genre are undeniable and his loss unimaginable, said fellow Meters’ bandmate George Porter, Jr.
“It’s a big loss, it will not be the same without him," Porter said. “Art was my hero. He was the first want to come to my house and say, 'Can you come out and play Earl King?”
With Neville’s death on the heals of other New Orleans icons like Dr. John and Leah Chase, Porter said the city’s grief is especially tangible.
“We used to always think we were going to be here forever,” Porter said. “I’m just losing too many friends.”
The legendary pianist played keyboard for two groups who shaped New Orleans music for nearly 50 years, but his influence was felt far beyond the Crescent City. John Weitzman is a Chicago police officer who helped provide security for the Neville Brothers when the performed in his city.
“I would come here a couple times a year. It hit me hard. He was a great guy, a friend," Weitzman said.
Neville is survived by his second wife, Lorraine, and his three children Amelia, Ian and Arthel, his brothers Aaron and Cyril and sister Athelgra.
His daughter, Arthel Neville is a FOX News Anchor and WVUE alum. She said in spite of her father’s fame, he never lost touch with his roots.
“I’m touched by everyone who is here. That’s all we are is one big family," she said.
A family that must now go on without one of its musical founding fathers.