There is something magical about second-lines. Moreover, that indefinable “something” can only happen in New Orleans. People of all walks of life and from all backgrounds, in many styles of clothing, walking and dancing together for more than four hours, blocking major thoroughfares and stopping buses and streetcars in their tracks.
Beyond the schematics of such an event, I personally have never seen the violence for which second-lines have been known. Instead, I have been privy to beautiful moments of celebration, flirting, dancing and joy.
Last Sunday I walked, dance and moseyed (as I have the past three years) in The Prince of Wales and Lady Wales 83rd second-line. Why this one? For one, a good friend of mine, Joel Dinerstein (below), is a member; for another it goes virtually right past my door and it’s always a great time.
This year The Prince of Wales and Lady Wales dressed in pink and black in support of breast cancer awareness. This is a cause close to my heart, as my mother, Ann Chambliss Packard, is a 10-year survivor of the disease.
The Stooges Brass Band kept everyone’s energy high throughout the route, ramping up for the triumphant turn onto St. Charles Avenue. That moment, coming directly after the hottest, most crowded section of the parade, is a feeling that I can liken to being in the Superdome during the Saints first home game post-Katrina.
And this coming Sunday I hope to see you at the Men of Class and Devine Ladies second-line. I’ll be the one in the big red hat.