2009 Champions

Champions by Year

Bruce Hirstius

“At 81, I now appreciate the joys in life – and New Orleans – like never before.”

“At 81, I now appreciate the joys in life – and New Orleans – like never before.”

On November 8, 2003, at the age of 75, musician Bruce Hirstius launched a new line of business for his Storyville Jazz Band. Bruce’s second line parade from St. Louis Cathedral to a reception hall down Royal Street was intended as a unique wedding gift for his niece. But the exuberant, distinctively New Orleans wedding procession was an instant hit, and through word of mouth a Storyville Jazz Band second line soon became the new wedding day “must have.” One booking request came from as far away as New Jersey.

Bruce Hirstius exemplifies the concept that success comes from doing what you truly love. And when you see Bruce perform with his band at a music festival… a Saints game… a parade… or just about anywhere – it’s obvious that Bruce loves music. More specifically, Bruce loves playing music while dancing and sharing the joyous spirit of New Orleans with others.

Bruce took a big risk by introducing what is typically a funeral tradition to what is, for many, one of their most joyous days. With experience however, comes learning to trust your gut and it turned out that Bruce’s instincts were right on. From his very first second line at a funeral at the tender age of 13, Bruce could not have known that 62 years later he would bring the celebratory processional to an entirely new audience. Since that first wedding in 2003, Bruce has led a growing procession of second line parades sharing New Orleans-style music, dance and joy with countless celebrants.

Thankfully, Bruce keeps thinking of new ways to share his music with the world. “My wife keeps asking me when I’m going to give all of this up,” says Bruce. “I say, when I get old.”

Bruce Hirstius… Peoples Health Champion.