King Dwight Ballard, Dumaine Street Gang
King Dwight Ballard, Dumaine Street Gang

17 years. Yes. That’s how long these guys have been rolling. The Dumaine Street Gang. No. Not the kind of gang that you are thinking of. This is another social club. They help people.

Aside from jazz funeral second lines that are held to honor some locally well-known person who has just passed, this is the biggest parade in Treme. The real Treme. Not the cable television show. This is the place where so many of New Orleans’ most famous musicians call home. Here, and the Lower 9th Ward. And, they all come out for this parade. Three brass bands. TBC. New Birth and The Tru Brass Band. Five divisions of formal paraders.

This one is huge. How huge? Well, I got up off my death-bed like Lazarus to photograph it. Well, not the bad. But, every time that I work hard as it takes to stay ahead of a parade, I start coughing and whatever it is that’s left inside of me rears its ugly head.

So. This guy. Royalty. New Orleans royalty. He is King Dwight Ballard. Do not quote me on this one, but he may also be a Mardi Gras Indian. His dress sure looks like that of an Indian to me. He might be using it to do double duty. The rest of his club were dressed more normally. Very elegant, formal and bright suits and hats with matching everything. Even cigars.

The picture. Well, I’m felling really lucky to have made this, and a few others. I was mostly out-of-place. As I said, I’m still not feeling great which made my timing off a bit. And, the guys carrying the yellow boundary ropes were relentless. I think I was mostly working on instinct. Sometimes you make the best pictures that way. Other times, not so much.

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