Most of you have to wait until Mardi Gras Day, Super Sunday, Saint Joseph’s Day and Night, Secondline parades, and the New Orleans Jazz Festival to experience the beautiful sights and sounds of our New Orleans cultures and traditions. But year-round, I am surrounded by native New Orleanians who ensure our treasured culture and tradition survive.
In New Orleans, we celebrate nearly every occasion with a second-line parade, it doesn’t matter if it’s a neighborhood block party, a wedding, or a funeral. We will take to the streets to celebrate life just because we are living!
All New Orleans Second Line’s stem from the African-American tradition of second-lining for private funerals, where brass bands play funeral songs/chants to accompany the hearse and mourners to the cemetery. After the body is buried, the band plays songs in honor of the life of the deceased.
On many Sundays during the year, social aid and pleasure clubs host Second Lines, dressed in coordinating attire, some with decorated umbrellas, parasols, handkerchiefs, or elaborate hand fans while taking to the streets with a dance we call footwork. They will follow a particular route and make stops at bars and clubs, finally settling at one location where crowds of people dance, eat, drink, and celebrate together.
People from all over the world admire New Orleans for its rich tradition, culture, and for its unique, lively atmosphere. Great times, great food and great music are not hard to come by. In this city, every day is a celebration. “Laissez les bons temps rouler” translated as “Let the good times roll” is our motto, and there is rarely an occasion that is not considered to be worthy of celebration.