Satchmo Second Line Scenes

Big Chief Fi Yi Yi singing right out loud.

Big chiefs, Zulus, social and benevolent societies, Baby Dolls, brass bands and a hot summer day.

That’s what Sunday was about.

The Satchmo second line walks in honor of Louis Armstrong’s birthday. It follows a jazz mass at St. Augustine’s Catholic Church in the heart of Treme. It is also one of the highlights of the last day of The Stachmo Summer Fest, which is held a few blocks away in the Old Mint in The French Quarter.

Now that that’s out of the way.

This is one of the few times that you can see representatives of the entire Mardi Gras culture on the streets in one place, at one time.

Second lines are curious things. Some people participate. Make that most people. That’s what a second line is about. Some people are just curious. A lot of people come out for this particular parade because they’ve come to New Orleans for the the actual music festival. They’ve heard about Treme, but have never been there. Maybe they even watched the HBO show of the same name.

Then there’s a bunch of us who think that second lines are like going to church. There is a kind of spiritual feeling to them.

And, then there is me.

I can be in pain when I arrive. Yeah, sure. I’ve taken my various pain meds, but walking on our broken and uneven streets sort of defeats the masking of the pain meds. Then the music starts. I start moving to the beat on the street. The pain disappears. Gone. I don’t know if it’s a semi-medical reason like loosening up the soft tissue in my back and legs. Or, if it’s a little bit of musical magic.

I’d like to believe it’s the latter.

About the pictures. I’m still learning the upgrades of the processing software. A couple of pictures are not quite as I’d like. I’m sure you’ll forgive me. I’m not sure if I’ll forgive me.

About the captions. Sometimes the action is just to fast to ask for names. Over time, you get to know many people. I’m am so sorry to say that I do not know the Baby Doll’s name who appears in the large picture at the bottom of the post. I’m not sorry because she’s lovely. I’m sorry because I’ve been photographing her for the past seven years. She always gives me a big warm smile when she sees me.  I’d like to share her pictures with her if she has a facebook page.

Now that I’ve written about it, somebody will tell me.

Many more pictures to come during the rest of the week.

Smiling Baby Doll.

Published by Ray Laskowitz

I am a visual storyteller. I've been making pictures for some 40 years. I travel the world in search of the right image. in the right light at the right time. You can reach me by phone at 505.280.4686, or by email at or For a quick look at my work please go to

6 thoughts on “Satchmo Second Line Scenes

  1. Great shots Ray! It is hard to decide which of these I like the best. I think it is the Mardi Gras Street Portrait. You’ve caught him tight and in focus with the second line clearly there but slightly out of focus. It’s as if they have the movement and the guy in the portrait is just getting into it.
    I hope the music and rhythm keeps you loose and feelin’ good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you again, Tim. I like that picture too. Part of what I do is to think really hard about the street conditions. What I wrote about Diane Honore is about right… not sweating. I work from the front because by the end of the second line, everyone will be very tired. A photographer friend of mine worked from the back. The “smiling baby doll” was glaring at him after that long walk. 🙂 She’s normally very sweet.

      BTW, you might know who Diane’s uncle is… General Russell Honore, the savior of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The guy who told the assembled media, “Don’t get stuck on stupid.”


      1. Ray, you’re right on the front end issue. “Eating Dust” doesn’t make people happy.
        I was not familiar with Gen. Honore. He sounds like a very down to earth guy. He might “Eat Dust” for awhile but he’d let you know about it.
        Stay healthy, I’m look forward to more photos. I guess I’m being selfish.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Gen. Honore has gotten a little crazy when he consults about disaster relief for CNN, but NOLA still respects him for what he did here. Thank you, I learn to manage it. And, to be a little smart. Also, dogs demanding walks helps. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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