Friday, August 12, 2011

Satchmo Second Line real New Orleans

Marcher biking to the church.
Satchmo Summerfest offers cool music at the hottest time of the year, the first week of August. Gazing at the list of activities last weekend, esoteric music workshops, swing dance lessons and 100th birthday party for the city's oldest jazz musician, Lionel Ferbos, I decided the Sunday morning second line was the ticket.

Following a jazz mass at St. Augustine Catholic Church in the Treme, worshippers and those who came just for the parade, would dance through the streets to the Old Mint. Sounded like a photo opportunity to me!

St. Augustine Church
I left my apartment about the time the parade was due to start, knowing it'd be on New Orleans time. As expected, I drove a half hour, parked a few blocks away and still waited another 30 minutes before anything began to congeal.

Folks were standing around; musicians were tuning up; dancers were practicing their steps on Gov. Nicholls Street.
Treme residents

I learned, reading the plaque, that St. Augustine was dedicated in 1842 - that's before the Civil War for those of you who do not know their history dates - and welcomed free blacks and slaves into its congregation. 

The church has a fascinating history, which shows free people of color had some power in New Orleans before the war and also suffered tremendously, but that's beside the point. What I was most interested in was the party.

My only real challenge was taking a photo without another photographer in the picture. I was elbow-to-elbow with the Times-Picayune and TV cameras.

Out came the priest, altar boys, worshippers and Treme jazz band. What a sound inside that church! A line started forming, starting with the Baby Boyz Brass Band, the Million Dollar Baby Dolls and the Grand Marshall Boe Monkey Red in a horse-drawn carriage.

Not far behind was the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club, Sudan Social Aid and Pleasure Club and Undefeated Divas Social Aid and Pleasure Club. The second line wound through the Treme, up Rampart Street onto Esplanade, approximately 15 blocks.
Everybody was dancing - kids, middle-age women, even park rangers.

All I could think was - only in New Orleans!

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