Fans mourn Whitney Houston's death
POSTED: Thursday, February 16, 2012 - 8:32pm
UPDATED: Friday, February 17, 2012 - 9:39pm
The colorful array of balloons, flowers and signs continue to grow outside of Newark's New Hope Baptist Church.
The makeshift memorial serves as a means for mourners to pay their respects to Whitney Houston in advance of her Saturday funeral.
Authorities are discouraging those same fans from trying to get close to the church during the service.
"I would advise the public there really will be nothing to see here at the church. Best thing to do is stay home and watch the service on television," said Sam Demaio of Newark Police Department.
Police will block off a roughly two block area around the church Saturday, as numerous celebrities are expected to join Houston's family for the service.
Her Godmother, Aretha Franklin is confirmed to be one of the performers during the funeral, as well as Stevie Wonder.
"We're gonna celebrate her life to the standard at which she deserves and this is a church and we're gonna have some church in the celebration," said Pastor Joe Carter of New Hope Baptist Church.
A full page tribute to Houston appeared in the Los Angeles Times, purchased by the Michael Jackson Estate.
Meanwhile, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's call to fly flags at half-staff Saturday in Houston's honor has drawn criticism.
"I think she's a wonderful singer. It's a tragedy. She was not in public circles; it's not appropriate," said Today Show Contributor, Donny Deutsch.
Houston's admitted drug use has also prompted critical calls to Christie's office but he defends the decision.
"Her accomplishments in her life were a source of great pride for many people in this state, and for the state as whole, so on that basis, i think she's entitled to have that recognition," said Gov. Christie.