The Second Line

Yesterday, we had the opportunity to attend and photograph a traditional second line in New Orleans. A second line is a parade of brass bands and Social (Aide) and Pleasure Clubs. The sponsoring element, the one with the parade permit, is typically the Social (Aide) & Pleasure Club of the neighborhood in which they are parading and is referred to as the Main Line. (Fans and residents that follow along are the second line). The Social Aide and Pleasure Clubs are a deeply rooted tradition based on the principle of people coming together, especially in times of need, for the collective good.

Yesterday’s parade was the second largest in New Orleans and we learned about it from our new friend Ronald Lewis at the House of Dance and Feathers. There were 8 organizations participating in the hot, hot heat of the noon day sun. I was deeply moved and inspired by the sense of community and tradition. They’re not easy to find — but if you find yourself in New Orleans — make it a priority to do what you can to experience one of these extraordinary events.

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