Verite News is publishing this historical image of irrepressible cultural activist Barbara Lacen-Keller on the eve of a memorial service on Thursday (Jan. 26). Ms. Lacen-Keller died on Jan. 16 at age 76. Details for the services are listed below.

In a 2010 video interview with the late Deb Cotton, Ms. Lacen-Keller gives a brief life history: Though she became known as “the Mayor of Central City,” she was a Treme native, the daughter of the legendary Augustine “Miss Teen” Lewis, a spy girl for the Cheyenne tribe of Black masking Indians. She attended the standard Treme menu of schools — Joseph A. Craig, Andrew J. Bell and Joseph S. Clark school — and moved to Central City in 1980 after marrying Anthony “Tuba Fats” Lacen, who had been raised in that area. 

Lacen-Keller worked in City Hall for former Councilwoman Stacy Head and also for Mayor LaToya Cantrell, in the Office of Cultural Economy. Throughout her life, she was an outspoken voice on behalf of New Orleans culture, helping to found the Social Aid and Pleasure Club Task Force and was a founding member of the Mystic Krewe of Femme Fatale and the Original New Orleans Lady Buckjumpers.

“I retired after 20 years, but I will always be a buckjumper,” she said. “You buck for those who have gone home and jump for those to come,” she said.

A memorial service will be held Thursday at Mardi Gras World, 1380 Port of New Orleans Place. Viewing is from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., with the memorial service starting at 7:30 p.m.

A funeral service will be held Saturday at New Home Family Worship Center, 1605 Robert C. Blakes, Sr. Drive. Viewing is from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., with a funeral following at 10 a.m. A jazz procession will follow the service. Internment will be at Mount Olivet Cemetery, 4000 Norman Mayer Avenue. 

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Katy Reckdahl joins Verite after working as a staff reporter for The Times-Picayune and the alt-weekly Gambit before spending a decade as a freelancer, writing frequently for the New Orleans Advocate |...