MLK BOULEVARD, NEWARK (PIX11)—It's a fitting goodbye for a superstar with down home roots. Flown by Tyler Perry's private plane from LA to Newark, Whitney Houston's body arrived at the local funeral home in a golden hearse, accompanied by her Grammy Award winning mother Cissy, and brothers and sister.
Funeral Director Carolyn Whigham, who shepherds the funeral home that has been in the family since the 1940's addressed those waiting for word on Whitney's arrangements. "They thank all the friends and the fans and the media, but at this time it's their private time. They've shared her for 30 years, now it's their time to mourn."
After days of speculation, Whitney's funeral plans are in place. Contrary to the superstar's larger than life presence through her music and acting, her goodbye will be a very small private affair.
Pastor Joe A Carter of the New Hope Baptist Church had only the briefest details available on the services, "They'll be here at church Saturday at 12 noon. It's invitation only. The family is asking for prayers and support and that you respect their privacy."
New Hope only holds 1500 parishioners. Everyone else will be forced to mourn on a much smaller scale.
Fans were singing outside Whigham, praying in groups, and laying flowers on the doorstep. "We understand that you made the call for her to come home and pray that she has reached heaven," said one group as they clasped hands and bowed their heads at an impromptu prayer service. And now some of those prayers are being shifted to the living, to Whitney's 18 year old daughter Bobbi Christina.
Chaka Khan, who Whitney sang back up for, spoke out I said the big thing we have to do now is make sure this whole scenario does not repeat itself and that Bobbi Kristina is handled and taken care of and happy.
The Prudential center had been widely rumored to be the venue for a two day public memorial service. By today, those plans were scrapped.
Carolyn Whigham spoke bluntly, "Nothing public. Nothing for the public."
Those who've loved Whitney the singer, actor or just Jersey Girl have come to mourn her--they lament losing the chance to say a true goodbye
James Deans of Newark was outside New Hope Baptist Church waiting for word on how he could mourn the loss. "It's unfortunate she's not going to have one. I understand it's because of her financial. I hope someone will step up to plate.