In the halcyon days of 2014, when the tollroad between the levees of the Trinity River only looked dead, Jason Roberts and his Go Oak Cliff nonprofit decided to throw it a New Orleans-style funeral march. Parishioners marched through Bishop Arts alongside a horn section, lofting up a wooden casket with the NTTA’s logo where a head would be.
Of course, the Trinity tollroad wasn’t dead and wouldn’t be dead for another three years. Its demise earlier this month was almost anticlimactic: a 13-2 vote, a round of applause, a break for lunch, and then right into discussion over the local government corporation that will build the park. So Roberts’ nonprofit Better Block is doing it once more tonight at 6 p.m.
“This time it’s real,” says Krista Nightengale, the managing director of Better Block (and former D managing editor). “People fought so hard for this for so very long, and the vote was taken, it passed. (Councilwoman) Sandy Greyson was wonderful and thanked Angela (Hunt, the former councilwoman) and we had that moment. But I don’t feel like we got a lot of closure. It was the vote, then into the LGC, and then that fight was on. I think we all need that moment to celebrate what happened and what people fought so hard for, and to acknowledge it and start looking forward to what’s next.”
So have a Last Word at Oddfellows at 6 p.m. The march starts a half hour later. Krista says there will be “surprises” that she wouldn’t budge on naming, outside of a six-piece band to soundtrack your steps and a brand new coffin. The march ends at Wild Detectives, which is selling a drink called The Obituary. Joshua Kumler, he of Bar Politics fame, will deliver a eulogy and Angela Hunt, the councilwoman who started the fight against the tollroad more than a decade ago, will also say some words.
This time, at least, we won’t be debating the fate of the road after the parade stops.