Traffic and sorrow fill Echo Park on a Saturday afternoon

The line of cars and pick-up trucks snaked through Elysian Park on Saturday afternoon and then headed up and down the roller coaster that is Scott Avenue as it rides the hills of Echo Park. During the spring and summer, this kind of westbound traffic jam usually signals the end of a Dodger game. But this past weekend, the nearly mile-long, solid line of vehicles marked a more somber occasion, a funeral procession for Juana Garcia. The rare sight of a funeral procession crawling through the hilly streets of Echo Park drew stares – as well as honking horns. A native of the Mexican state of Zacatecas, Garcia, who turned 56 on the day after Christmas, died January 2 from complications of pneumonia, said her husband, Pascual. The couple moved to Echo Park about 30 years ago, raising five children in a small stucco bungalow at the corner of Scott Avenue and Fairbanks Place. Her children arranged so that the procession went past that bungalow as it headed from Mission San Conrado in Solano Canyon to funeral services in North Hollywood.

One of her sons said that when the procession reached the top of the first hill, all he could see ahead of him was a line of vehicles filled with family and friends headed past his parents’ home and down Scott Avenue to the horizon. “It was sad but beautiful at the same time.”

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