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“I’d like to see good come out of this”: Congo Square drum circle remembers Portia Pollock

Published: Jun. 13, 2021 at 10:41 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 13, 2021 at 10:48 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Under the beating sun, a drum circle gathers at the sacred Congo Square.

“We gather here today as we do every Sunday to honor our ancestors to work as a community.”

But this time, they’re remembering a woman who no longer drums alongside them.

“We’re definitely here today to honor Portia Pollock… her chair’s in between those two chairs she always sat with them… her drums on the altar the ancestor tree.”

Stabbed to death outside her North Dorgenois home on her way to work one morning, 60-year-old Portia Pollock’s death shook the town she loved. Her friends and loved ones both grieved and celebrated her life simultaneously.

“For someone to do something like that to her and her life... that was really a hard worker. She was someone you know you could always count on and all this time,” said Collins “One Love” Whittey

“We pour libations because Portia would get on her harmonica when you least expect it and she would blow that harmonica. Y’all remember that? And then she would get these sticks and she clicks and then he sticks together and she’d be on it y’all remember that,” said Rev. Denise Graves.

“It’s a little overwhelming but in a good way, I think she’d be shocked to see so many people came out in support of her but she deserves it,” said Fatima Muse.

Met with an embrace at every turn, Pollock’s goddaughter, Fatima Muse says she danced through the drum circle hoping to make her proud.

“I think she’d be amazed to see this turnout and she’d be very excited that so many people were here to hear the drumming because she loves the drums. I’m sure she’d be encouraging everyone to come in because she brings extra drums with her on Sundays,” said Muse.

And through the beat of the drum, Muse hopes the city remembers and hears her godmother’s call for change and peace.

“I’d rather have her here more than anything in the world, but if Portia has to be the spark for change... I will take it. I’d like to see good come out of this. I want to see the city move forward and take a giant step in a positive direction,” said Muse.

Pollock’s funeral is scheduled for Saturday, June 19th, or Juneteenth at Rhodes funeral home at 1 p.m.

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