I thought a second line was when brass bands accompanied a funeral procession to the grave site, playing somber songs, and then led the mourners out with uplifting music so everyone could dance and celebrate the life of the deceased. However, I know now (thanks internet!) that Second Lines are generally brass parades, with the line of people dancing and walking behind the brass band referred to as “the second line” of the parade.
Last Sunday I went to my first Second Line, a Father’s Day celebration put on by the Perfect Gentleman’s Social Club. The route information was in the Gambit, so despite the fact that we left the house very late and had to drive around all the streets the paraders had passed, my boyfriend and our friend were able to enjoy the TBC Brass Band.
It was the last Second Line of the season. New Orleanians are smart–they know summertime isn’t right for this sort (any sort) of outside activity. We only caught the last 30 minutes, but that’s fine because I sweat through my clothes.
Here is a great link explaining the traditions of New Orleans’ Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs.