Monday, October 31, 2016

This week's second line

Just because it's Halloween weekend doesn't mean that other activities aren't important.

As usual, on an autumn Sunday in New Orleans, there are a lot of events to compete for your attention. This weekend was the annual Second Line for the Social Aid and Pleasure Club Women of Class, and they assembled on St. Charles Avenue right in front of the storied Ponchartrain Hotel.

A different format from the old-school street-based celebrations like the Black Men of Labor; this one consisted of several truck-drawn floats with royalty seated within. The floats were fitted out with sounds systems, and projected their own recorded music, mostly loud hip hop, bounce, or rhythm and blues.

At one point, where some half a dozen floats were parked on both sides of the neutral ground, the atmosphere was booming with sound, as competing speakers blasted echoing off the faces of the tall buildings.

The club members were decked out as royalty; a Queen with an elaborate headdress had to be guided carefully to the step-ladder entrance to her float; she teetered on her platform high-heels while balancing the glittering diadem.

On another float, a King clutching a scepter wore a crown and a huge feathered disc that was more like a structure than a cape. He was accompanied by a vanguard of sharply dressed men in white suits with purple hats.

The brass band followed behind the floats, wearing pink and black t-shirts. The dancers marching alongside were not dressed in matching regalia, but wore simple white clothing with pink accents.

Clearly, a different aesthetic prevailed here - the appearance of royalty, their elevation and tiered positions, made for a very different message. "Class" - perhaps the word is imbued with multiple meanings, for these royals rode high above the grit of the street.

Purple was the unifying theme of the day, even for bystanders
More down-home, the celebration by football fans of the Saints' victory over the Seahawks was a change of pace, followed by a neighborhood birthday party at Matt and Dusty's fabulous house in the Bywater.

Can you say "shrimp boil"? I knew you could.

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