He said he was the oldest still active DJ in New Orleans. I’m not sure if he was fooling us or not. I don’t even know if that’s really what he said as I could barely hear him over the sound of loud bounce music. Combined with his thick southern accent and a couple of missing teeth I couldn’t understand half of what he was saying anyway. But judging from his dance moves he could well have spent a better part of his life in clubs and bars.
It is characters like him that add to the uniqueness of second line parades in New Orleans. And as long you haven’t joined one you haven’t seen the real New Orleans. I’ve already written about how the HBO Treme series was the reason for our first trip to the crescent city. Partly because I wanted to see with my own eyes if all that partying and dancing in the streets is even possible. It is, but only in New Orleans. Here’s what makes second lines so special:
- There’s no parade without music – and local brass bands sure know how to get people partying.
- The annual parade is a big thing for each Social Aid & Pleasure Club organizing it so it goes without saying that the occasion calls for marching uniforms and colourful costumes.
- Everyone else dresses up to the nines too.
- Dancing is the way to move along with the parade. And these people know their moves. I bet they all learned to dance before they could walk.
- Drinks are sold straight from pick-up trucks and tempting aroma of grilled meat is emanating from several barbecues along the parade route. Occasionally you can catch a whiff of weed too.
Can you see second lines happening anywhere else but New Orleans? Told you so. So be sure to catch one if you happen to be there, you’ll be witnessing what may soon become history.