New Orleans:

The Second Line Culture



Rashid Booker

American heritage came from New Orleans, Louisiana, by way of the African Americans who immigrated to our country in chains.

African American slaves in New Orleans are quite different than their contemporaries in the rest of the country because they preserved the customs even though they were held captive by cruel masters and a tolerant injustice.

Famous New Orleans Artist Bill Summers said, "Second Line is a celebration of life and death through music, dance and social clubs.

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The name 'Second Line' is an urban social tradition for the African-American youth of New Orleans. Being a “Second Liner” is something that the youth look forward to. It is full of energy and you’re right behind the band as they strut down the narrow streets.

Strutting and dancing with your umbrella in hand to the beat of “Street Parade.” Just name any African-American so-called jazz “ great,” who came out of the great music city, and he/she has paid their dues to the Second Line.

"The Second Line is a symbol of New Orleans,” said Zohar Israel, who’s a native, “its excitement and tradition. African Americans affliction, a gift to New Orleans."

To understand the Second Line, you must research the historical background of the so-called Jazz Funeral. The term Jazz Funeral can be very confusing; it's a contradiction. How can anyone experience the excitement of this great art form and at the same time lay your loved one to rest?

Realizing the term is foreign and can be difficult to understand, but, nevertheless The Second Line is part of New Orleans' rich culture.

The social clubs of the African American communities here help to educate and protect the health of its members. It is heavily influenced by African traditions. My series of films will break this tradition down in finite detail. Music and art are amongst the great natural resources of New Orleans and we intend to barrel, refine and present it ourselves."

“One can sway down the streets moving to the rhythms of jazz brass bands. The music bellows out of the brass instruments, reflecting on days gone. When our ancestors got access to the military bands instruments” Zohar said. “From my youth remembering calling out to our neighbors to come join The Second Line parade, explaining that is New Orleans, the music and it’s all part of our sub-culture. The spirits of this city are the cradle of African-American culture, its America’s music.”

Today the Second Line is not limited to funerals. The Second Line has become a part of modern day New Orleans because they love to party and have a good time rain or shine.

If you ever feel the need for excitement, New Orleans or The Second Line, you need to head on down and have some fun.


Rashid Booker

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