Ladies of Unity Second Line

Blowing that trumpet.
Blowing that trumpet.

Sunday. The Ladies of Unity second line.

Their tenth anniversary. That means they began just as Katrina recovery was just starting. Ten is sort of a big number normally. But, it’s a really big number for this social aid and pleasure club considering the circumstance. And, that they likely walked their first second line to fairly empty streets.

It started right at the heart of things. Sportsman’s Corner. Where the Mardi Gras Indians gather on St. Joseph’s Night. Where everybody gathers for Mardi Gras Day. Sort of a home base for the people who live in that neighborhood. Not all that far from that old abandoned Catholic Church that I like to photograph, or from our legendary and finally restored three-story gothic-looking house that we bought after the whole back-end fell off. In many ways, even though I live across the streetcar tracks in The Garden District, this is home base for me too.


For you, that means there will be a couple of days of this work. For me, that means there will be a couple of days of this work. See what I did there? I’m sort of skating. The first of the big Mardi Gras parades start on Friday. I’m an old guy. I need to get my rest.

The pictures. First. I need to tell you that I intentionally did everything wrong. High noon winter sun. Normally, you keep the sun over your shoulder. I’m not normal. I shot into the sun. Normally, you try to stay on theft side of the second line. Or, the center. Well, I got to the center eventually, but I started from the right side. I could make some kind of snarky political comment about now. But, I’m already sick of politics. I’m willing to bet that most of you who read this in The United States feel about the same way.


The main picture. The guy playing the trombone was wired up. No. Not that way. A small video group is doing a thing as background video for when brass bands go on tour. They hope to project it behind the band while they are on stage to give the audience a sense of what it is like to be at a second line. So, they pinned this cigar-looking video camera to his shoulder. They were having trouble so I suggested that they duct (or duck, if you prefer) tape it to his forehead. He looked at me and said, “Oh man, I thought you liked me.” I do. We all laughed. I think you should duct tape all sorts of things to other people’s foreheads.

The rest. The pictures are all pretty self-explanatory with the exception of “Just a Quick Pose.” Usually at the beginning of the second line, a photographer who knows the social and aid club will ask them to line up for a quick group shot. I believe in not making the same picture as everybody else, so I shot from the side.

I think you can also see that all that back and side lightning made the pictures a little more sparkly than usual.

Oh. Since somebody will ask. My favorite in all of these pictures is “A Big Crowd.” That captures the sense of what it’s like to be in the middle of a second line.


    1. I’d probably become Martian before that. After all, I was given an Alien green card at Krewe du Vieux. Among other things, it guarantees me the right not to be made into Soylent Green, no more body cavity probes and the continued right to marry within species.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Frank. Interesting that you call it seasonal. Neighborhood second lines have their own season which lasts for 47 weeks. At this time of year just happens to overlap with Carnival. But, I see it as one long season with a break in July and August for our extremely hot weather. It’s all Mardi Gras culture to me. 🙂


      1. Of course just as valid of a question is why should AL pitchers not hit. … Nonetheless, the other day I read about the one point that could sway the NL to switch – the number of pitchers getting hurt from batting and running incidents.


      2. Yes, I agree. But they are fighting for audience share. To many young people, baseball is just flat out boring. After all, that’s why they are experimenting with a pitch clock.


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