Brass Bands Clash on Frenchmen Street


Later in the evening, my homebody Darren Towns of the TBC Brass Band had a gig with a pick-up band of musicians from various brass bands for a birthday party at Vaso, a club on Frenchmen Street. Since the City of New Orleans had put a stop to brass bands playing at the corner of Canal and Bourbon Streets in the Quarter around 2009 or so, bands often frequent Frenchmen, a funky, music street that appeals more to locals than tourists, although the police will occasionally run brass bands away from the Marigny neighborhood as well. On this occasion, the birthday girl wanted the band to parade up Frenchmen Street from Vaso to the intersection with Chartres Street and back, but at Chartres, there was another brass band playing at the entrance to a brightly-colored building that has always reminded me of the Caribbean. At least one of their musicians was wearing a shirt for the Young & Talented Brass Band, but Darren told me that the band was comprised of musicians from several different brass bands. As is often the case in New Orleans, the two bands confronted each other, although in a friendly manner, and they quickly locked in with each other on a version of the brass band standard “Tuba Fats”. The crowds of locals and tourists in the intersection near The Praline Connection were thrilled. Eventually, our band headed back down toward Vaso, leaving the other one on their corner. It was one of those serendipitous musical moments that happen frequently in the Crescent City.

Across The Canal With The TBC Brass Band

New photo by John Shaw / Google Photos
New photo by John Shaw / Google Photos
New photo by John Shaw / Google Photos

My homeboy Darren Towns plays bass drum for the TBC Brass Band, which in my opinion is New Orleans’ greatest brass band. They don’t play a lot of gigs in night clubs these days, but they get called for a lot of birthday parties, wedding receptions, funerals, and second-lines, so when I heard that they were playing over in the 9th Ward, I couldn’t wait to get out there to see them. Any TBC performance is an experience, and in the Crescent City, even a birthday party is a really big deal.

A Second-Line in Memphis To A Winter Wonderland

047 Memphorleans Street Symphony048 Memphorleans Street Symphony049 Memphorleans Street Symphony050 Memphorleans Street Symphony051 Memphorleans Street Symphony052 Memphorleans Street Symphony054 Memphorleans Street Symphony057 Memphorleans Street Symphony058 Donnon Johnson059 Memphorleans Street Symphony060 Memphorleans Street Symphony061 Memphorleans Street Symphony062 Winter Wonderland063 The Dantones064 Sledding in Memphis065 Sledding in Memphis066 Sledding in Memphis067 Suavo J & Otis Logan068 Winter Wonderland2026 Memphorleans Street Symphony2028 Memphorleans Street Symphony2029 Memphorleans Street Symphony2030 Donnon Johnson2032 Sledding in Memphis
Second-lines are not generally associated with Memphis, and neither is sledding, but both were highlighted in December at the Levitt Shell during Winter Wonderland, an event to give kids a taste of winter magic while unveiling the future construction and improvements under way at the Shell. Unfortunately, the weather was anything but seasonal, and the artificial snow barely stayed on the ground long enough for kids to sled, but the excellent Memphorleans Street Symphony Band led the way from the Memphis College of Art into the Shell area, supplemented by students from the Chickasaw Middle School Band, and additional music was provided by the Dantones and the Mighty Souls Brass Band. If it didn’t exactly feel like winter, it was still a lot of fun.



The Crescent City and Yet More Rain

1951 Dis & Dat1954 Maison Bourbon1957 Hot 8 Brass Band1959 Hot 8 Brass Band1961 Hot 8 Brass Band1962 Hot 8 Brass Band1963 Hot 8 Brass Band1964 Hot 8 Brass Band1965 Hot 8 Brass Band1969 Hot 8 Brass Band
When I headed out from Monroe on Sunday morning, it was still raining. Although I had hoped the rain would end, it really did not, and was still going on when I arrived in New Orleans. I stopped and ate lunch at a place called Dis & Dat on Banks Street, a burger concept opened by the same people who started Dat Dog. From there I made my way over to the Treme Coffeehouse, and enjoyed a latte, as the second-line I had hoped to see was not being held due to the rain. Instead, I called my homeboy Darren from the TBC Brass Band, and we ended up riding out to Pizza Domenica with him, and then to the Maison Bourbon for live jazz. Ultimately, we ended up at the Howling Wolf in the Central Business District, where the Hot 8 Brass Band plays every Sunday night.

The Stooges Brass Band Brings A Taste of New Orleans to Overton Square

001 Stooges Brass Band002 Stooges Brass Band003 Stooges Brass Band004 Stooges Brass Band005 Stooges Brass Band006 Stooges Brass Band007 Stooges Brass Band008 Stooges Brass Band009 Stooges Brass Band010 Stooges Brass Band011 Stooges Brass Band012 Stooges Brass Band013 Stooges Brass Band013 Stooges Brass Band014 Stooges Brass Band015 Stooges Brass Band016 Stooges Brass Band017 Stooges Brass Band018 Stooges Brass Band019 Stooges Brass Band020 Stooges Brass Band021 Stooges Brass Band022 Stooges Brass Band023 Stooges Brass Band024 Stooges Brass Band025 Stooges Brass Band026 Dancers027 Dancers028 Stooges Brass Band029 Stooges Brass Band030 Stooges Brass Band031 Stooges Brass Band032 Stooges Brass Band033 Otis & Suavo with Stooges Brass Band
Back in 2011, the Stooges Brass Band were one of the more active street brass bands in New Orleans, with a regular residency at the Hi-Ho Lounge in the 9th Ward, which is where I first heard them. Over the last four years, like the Dirty Dozen before them, they have morphed into more of a touring entity, although they have a street version that still marches for certain second-lines during the year. The traveling version of the band is somewhat stripped down, with fewer horns, a set drummer instead of the traditional snare and bass drummers, and the addition of non-brass-band instruments like keyboards and electric guitar. Still the band generates a considerable amount of crowd participation as it runs through its combination of standard brass band repertoire and unique originals like “Wind It Up” and “Why They Had To Kill Him”, the latter a tribute to Joseph “Shotgun Joe” Williams, a trombonist shot to death by the New Orleans Police in the year before Hurricane Katrina. Memphis has a number of New Orleans expatriates, and even more local fans of New Orleans music, and so Lafayette’s Music Room was packed for the performance, which was rescheduled from an earlier date that had to be cancelled due to snow and ice.






TBC Brass Band Brings The Seventh Ward Funk Rolling Downtown With Revolution SA & PC

001 Treme002 Treme Coffeehouse003 Treme004 New Breed Brass Band005 Rampart Street006 TBC Brass Band007 TBC Brass Band008 TBC Brass Band009 TBC Brass Band010 TBC Brass Band011 Revolution 2015012 TBC Brass Band013 TBC Brass Band014 Revolution & TBC015 Revolution & TBC016 Revolution & TBC017 Revolution & TBC018 Revolution & TBC019 Revolution020 Revolution & TBC021 Revolution 2015022 Revolution 2015023 On Horseback024 Basin Street025 Basin Street026 Revolution & TBC027 Revolution & TBC028 Revolution & TBC029 Revolution 2015030 Revolution 2015031 Revolution & TBC032 Revolution 2015033 Orleans Avenue034 Revolution 2015035 Carver Theater036 Carver Theater037 Revolution 2015038 Revolution 2015039 Orleans Avenue040 The New Breed Brass Band041 Revolution 2015042 Revolution & The New Breed Brass Band043 Revolution 2015044 Revolution 2015045 Revolution & TBC046 Orleans Avenue047 Revolution & TBC048 Neutral Ground on Broad049 Broad Street Ruler050 Broad Street051 Revolution & TBC052 Broad Street053 Broad Street054 Broad Street055 Positive Vibrations056 Revolution 2015057 TBC Brass Band058 TBC Brass Band059 TBC Brass Band060 TBC Brass Band061 TBC Brass Band062 Revolution 2015063 Revolution 2015064 Revolution 2015065 Broad Street066 Broad Street067 Broad Street068 Broad Street069 Broad Street070 Revolution 2015071 Revolution 2015072 Revolution 2015073 Revolution 2015074 On Horseback Under The Arches075 On Horseback at McDonalds076 Revolution 2015077 Revolution 2015078 Revolution 2015079 Revolution 2015080 TBC Brass Band081 The Duck Off082 Revolution 2015083 TBC Brass Band084 Groove City085 A P Tureaud086 A P Tureaud087 Revolution 2015088 Under The Claiborne Bridge089 Claiborne Avenue090 Mother-In-Law Lounge091 Revolution 2015092 North Claiborne093 Revolution 2015094 Revolution 2015095 Revolution 2015096 St. Bernard Avenue097 St. Bernard Avenue098 St. Bernard Avenue099 St. Bernard Avenue100 St. Bernard Avenue101 St. Bernard Avenue102 Revolution 2015103 St. Bernard Avenue104 The Next Stop Bar105 Revolution 2015106 The Other Place107 The Other Place108 St. Bernard Avenue116 After The Second-Line Downtown117 After The Second-Line118 After The Second-Line119 After The Second-Line
Perhaps no New Orleans experience is more enjoyable yet exotic as the Sunday afternoon parades called second-lines. Inspired by the bass-drum, cowbell and tuba-driven grooves of a brass band, the second-line is basically a rolling party led by one of the many social aid and pleasure clubs in the Black community of New Orleans. Unlike more traditional parades elsewhere in the United States, these are participatory events. People come off their porches and fall in behind the marching band, or jump onto high places to dance and be noticed. The refreshments roll too, pulled by vendors with coolers on wheels, so with the music and cold drinks easily available, the average second-liner might not even realize that he’s been marching and buckjumping for nearly four hours in the hot New Orleans sun. Plus, unlike other parades, second-lines stop. The sponsoring club needs to rest, as some of the members are not young, and besides, they are usually dressed in elaborate and beautiful costumes that are extremely hot to wear. They also need to salute other clubs by visiting the bars where they hang out, so a second-line is everything- the beat of great music, the exuberance of impromptu dancing, the colorful brilliance of suits and costumes, the joyful meeting of friends or relatives, and ultimately a statement of identity- what it means to be from New Orleans.
On this particular Saturday, the second-line was being sponsored by the Revolution Social Aid & Pleasure Club, a downtown organization, so the parade lined up at the entrance to Louis Armstrong Park in the Treme neighborhood. Normally, that wouldn’t have been a big deal, but the Congo Square Rhythm Festival was going on inside the park, so there was quite a crowd in the vicinity. Revolution is one of the bigger parades of the season, and this year, it featured three bands- the TBC Brass Band, the Sons of Jazz and the New Breed Brass Band, which had formerly been known as the Baby Boyz. With a 70% chance of rain predicted, I had been concerned about the weather. It was certainly grey and overcast, and as the parade began to get underway, big drops of rain came falling down, sending a rush of people into the Ace Hardware on Rampart Street to buy ponchos and umbrellas. But once the parade was up and rolling on Basin Street, the rain abruptly ended, never to return, and eventually, up on Broad Street the sun came out. The crowds grew steadily bigger through the afternoon as we headed down Broad Street toward A. P. Tureaud. At one stop along the way, the club members disappeared into a building, and then came out in completely different attire. Since there had been no “coming out the door” at the beginning of the parade, this was their first “coming out” of the day. All downtown second-lines get kicked up a notch when they hit the I-10 overpass at North Claiborne Avenue. For one thing, the acoustics under the bridge are amazing, and the bass drums and tuba lines seem to hit harder, and the dancers get more creative. For another, there’s usually a crowd of people gathered under the bridge awaiting the arrival of the second-line. The neutral ground of Claiborne was a place of significance in Black New Orleans before the interstate was built, and the ground remains important to the community today, even in spite of what has been done to it. Outside of some establishments were large groups of people, particularly at Kermit Ruffin’s Mother-In-Law Lounge near the intersection with St. Bernard Avenue. On the last stretch of parade down St. Bernard Avenue, there was some question as to whether we would be allowed to continue, because the parade had run past its permitted time of 5 PM, but the police finally relented and allowed the parade to continue to its end.
Second-line crowds are always reluctant to disperse, and that is even more true of the ones downtown. Lots of people come out with custom cars and motorcycles, cruising up and down North Claiborne Avenue, despite the efforts of the police to break it up. An hour later, there was still a street party in full swing under the bridge. As the sun sets, it gradually breaks up naturally most of the time, the revelers headed home tired but happy until the whole process is repeated the next Sunday.















Kicking Off Mardi-Gras Day With The Jefferson City Buzzards and TBC Brass Band

001 Jefferson City Buzzards002 TBC Brass Band003 TBC Brass Band005 Jefferson City Buzzards006 Jefferson City Buzzards007 TBC Brass Band008 Pussyfooters HQ010 TBC Brass Band011 TBC Brass Band012 Jefferson City Buzzards Parade013 Jefferson City Buzzards014 TBC Brass Band015 Jefferson City Buzzards016 Jefferson City Buzzards017 TBC Brass Band018 TBC Brass Band at 45 Tchoupitoulas019 Jefferson City Buzzards020 Jefferson City Buzzards021 TBC Brass Band022 TBC Brass Band023 TBC Brass Band024 Darren Towns025 Jefferson City Buzzards026 TBC Brass Band027 TBC Brass Band028 Krewe of Deflategate029 Jefferson City Buzzards030 St. Charles Avenue031 St. Charles Avenue032 St. Charles Avenue033 St. Charles Avenue034 St. Charles Avenue035 Eiffel Society036 St. Charles Avenue037 St. Charles Avenue038 St. Charles Avenue039 The Avenue Pub040 The Blind Pelican041 St. Charles Avenue042 TBC Brass Band043 TBC Brass Band044 Raising Canes045 St. Charles Avenue046 St. Charles Avenue047 Darren Towns048 St. Charles Avenue049 A Bead Tree050 TBC Brass Band051 TBC Brass Band052 St. Charles Avenue053 TBC Brass Band054 Jefferson City Buzzards055 St. Charles Avenue056 TBC Brass Band057 TBC Brass Band058 Jefferson City Buzzards059 TBC Brass Band060 Beads and Balcony061 TBC Brass Band062 Jefferson City Buzzards063 TBC Brass Band064 St. Charles Avenue065 St. Charles Avenue066 St. Charles Avenue067 St. Charles Avenue068 St. Charles Avenue069 St. Charles Avenue070 TBC Brass Band071 TBC Brass Band072 TBC Brass Band073 St. Charles and Canal074 Jefferson City Buzzards075 TBC Brass Band076 TBC Brass Band077 Balcony View078 Canal Street079 Canal Street080 Canal Street
It was my first Mardi Gras morning in New Orleans ever, but it was hardly the stuff of dreams. It was grey, dreary and overcast, a chilly 34 degrees with a wind-chill, and the announcer on the television was warning of the possibility of icing on bridges and overpasses north of the lake. TBC Brass Band was not marching with the Zulus this year, but rather with an organization called the Jefferson City Buzzards who were gathering at Audubon Park at 7:30 in the morning, so there was no time for breakfast or even coffee. The Jefferson City Buzzards, founded in 1890, are what is known as a “walking club” rather than a “krewe”. While they technically stage a parade, these clubs have few floats, if any (the Buzzards had one), and generally have only one band, often a brass band, to provide the cheer and motivation for the paraders. In style, these predominantly-white clubs seriously resemble the Black social aid and pleasure clubs. Their parading routes often follow backstreets, particularly in the early part of the day, and the route is set up to stop by particular people’s houses so they can be greeted, to stop by neighborhood bars, or to interact with other walking clubs.
This particular organization takes its name from a lost and nearly forgotten town, the City of Jefferson, Louisiana, that once existed in the 1850’s, when the area now known as Uptown New Orleans had been part of Jefferson Parish. As the railroad that would later become the famous St. Charles streetcar was being built, towns and villages sprung up along it, and besides the City of Jefferson, there was the Village of Lafayette and the Village of Carrollton. All of these eventually became neighborhoods of New Orleans, and the lost city of Jefferson is commemorated only in the name of the Jefferson City Buzzards, who were founded in 1890, when doubtless there were still people living who could remember when Jefferson was a town. The oldest Black social aid and pleasure club, the Young Men Olympian, was founded five years earlier, in 1885. The similar parading styles of the two clubs, and the fact that the first predominantly white jazz and spasm bands appeared in the same era raise interesting questions about the degree to which Blacks and whites were influencing each other in late 19th Century New Orleans.
The weather was cold enough when we started, but after a few blocks of parading, we began to warm up to a certain extent. Several band members caught up with us after the first few blocks, and we stopped in front of several houses to greet people, perhaps elderly members of the Buzzards, or perhaps spouses and significant others. All of this seemed perfectly familiar to me from my experience with second-lines, the only real difference being that second-lines don’t happen on Mardi Gras Day. Soon we stopped at the Buzzards’ headquarters, where we were met and saluted by another walking carnival club called the Lyons, who had hired their own brass band for their Mardi Gras morning as well. Also very much like second-lines were the occasional stops at neighborhood bars, although these were briefer. One of these, at a bar called 45 Tchoup on Tchoupitoulas Street, was to salute a female walking club called the Pussyfooters. As we headed up Napoleon onto St. Charles Avenue, we began to encounter large crowds. The Buzzards were falling in directly behind the Zulus, and in front of the Krewe of Rex. On the opposite side of the Crescent City Connection bridge, the sun finally came out, producing a spontaneous cheer from paraders and spectators alike, but when we approached Canal Street, everything came to a halt, due to a float in the Zulu parade that broke down. While standing in the street not marching, we began to get very cold indeed, but somehow they got things moving again, and we swung around onto Canal Street, which was flanked with massive crowds on both sides. Getting back to Audubon Park after the parade proved to be more difficult than anticipated. We were supposed to have ridden the one float back, but the float operator said he was heading back to Mardi Gras World, not Audubon Park, and that he could not take us. So those of us who had come with TBC Brass Band had to squeeze onto the school bus that had come for the Buzzards, and there really wasn’t room, but somehow most of us made it back.At one point the bus had to stop because a street Uptown was blocked by a spontaneous group of Indians,paraders and a brass band. My homeboy Darren had not been feeling well all day, and decided to stay near Canal Street and call his wife to come get him. And TBC had been scheduled to play a gig on Bourbon Street at 10:30, but with all the delays involved with the Buzzards parade, it was after 1 PM, and way too late for that gig. Once I got back to my car, my agenda was to start about the task of finding something to eat, which I knew would not be easy on Mardi Gras Day.


From Zion City to 2nd & Dryades: The Lady Jetsetters Uptown with the Stooges Brass Band

019 Zion City020 Ed's Bar021 Ed's Bar022 Before the Second-Line023 Stooges Brass Band024 Stooges Brass Band025 Stooges Brass Band026 Ed's Bar027 Lady Jetsetters028 Before the Second-Line029 Ed's Bar031 Future Snare Drummer033 Stooges Brass Band034 Before the Second-Line035 Lady Jetsetters037 Lady Jetsetters038 Lady Jetsetters039 Stooges Brass Band040 Stooges Brass Band041 Stooges Brass Band043 Lady Jetsetters044 Lady Jetsetters with The Stooges Brass Band045 Lady Jetsetters046 Lady Jetsetters047 Lady Jetsetters & The Stooges Brass Band048 Lady Jetsetters & The Stooges Brass Band050 Lady Jetsetters051 Lady Jetsetters052 Lady Jetsetters053 Lady Jetsetters054 Lady Jetsetters055 Lady Jetsetters056 Lady Jetsetters057 Lady Jetsetters058 Lady Jetsetters059 Lady Jetsetters060 Lady Jetsetters061 Wild Mohicans062 Buckjumping064 Lady Jetsetters065 Lady Jetsetters066 S & S Club067 Stooges Brass Band068 Lady Jetsetters069 Lady Jetsetters070 Lady Jetsetters071 Lady Jetsetters072 Lady Jetsetters073 Lady Jetsetters075 Lady Jetsetters076 Lady Jetsetters077 Lady Jetsetters078 Buckjumping079 Buckjumping080 Buckjumping082 Lady Jetsetters083 An Uptown Slab084 Lady Jetsetters085 Lady Jetsetters086 Wall of Respect Uptown087 Wall of Respect Uptown088 Lady Jetsetters090 Faubourg Livaudais091 Food Trucks092 2nd & Dryades093 2nd & Dryades094 2nd & Dryades096 Future Trumpeter097 2nd & Dryades098 2nd & Dryades099 2nd & Dryades101 Lady Jetsetters102 Stooges Brass Band103 Bean Brothers Corner105 Pop's House of Blues106 Pop's House of Blues107 Lady Jetsetters109 Lady Jetsetters110 Lady Jetsetters111 Lady Jetsetters112 Buckjumping113 Lady Jetsetters114 Lady Jetsetters115 Lady Jetsetters116 Lady Jetsetters117 Lady Jetsetters121 Lady Jetsetters
Last year, the Lady Jetsetters second-line had started in the new apartments that replaced the Calliope projects, but this year the starting point was a placed called Ed’s Bar in a neighborhood to the north called Zion City, caught in a triangle between Washington Avenue, Earhart Boulevard and South Broad Street. I had never heard of Zion City, but as I walked its streets toward the parade’s starting point, I was amazed at how isolated and rural it looked. A lot of houses and buildings were abandoned, and clearly this area had not come back much since the hurricane. But some of the houses were occupied, there were a few churches, and a bicycle repair shop for the neighborhood kids, and a tiny bar tucked between two houses where vendors and second-liners had gathered. Soon some musicians began to appear as well, members of the Stooges Brass Band who had been engaged for the day’s events. The weather was warm and pleasant, and as we headed out Washington Avenue, we were already a large group. Like all second-lines, the crowd grew bigger as we proceeded, and the dancers became more exuberant, with young men jumping up on roofs and slamming street signs as we came to intersections. Toward the end of the afternoon, the Stooges began playing a number of crowd favorites, including Deniece Williams’ “Cause You Love Me Baby” and Mel Waiters’ “Got My Whiskey”. Although the parade disbanded at the Foxx II on Washington Avenue, it wasn’t all that far away from where we began, and it was easy enough to walk it.








TBC Brass Band At A Party In Gentilly @TBC_BrassBand

215 TBC Brass Band in Gentilly216 TBC Brass Band in Gentilly
The TBC Brass Band had two gigs on the Sunday night after Thanksgiving, but fortunately, there was enough time between the first one and the second one for my homeboy Darren and I to grab dinner at a new spot in Uptown New Orleans on Freret Street called the Hi Hat. The second gig was at a little hole-in-the-wall club in Gentilly that had a crowd spilling out onto the front lot and the street. This event was apparently also a birthday party, but instead of having the band come inside the tiny club, the decision was made to have them play on the outside and then parade around the neighborhood with the revelers. It was wild, but the whole thing amounted to a little late-night second-line that lasted about 20 minutes. Altogether, it was a lot of fun.

Parading Uptown with the Lady Buckjumpers and the Stooges and Rebirth Brass Bands

001 Lady Buckjumpers002 Lady Buckjumpers004 Stooges Brass Band005 Lady Buckjumpers006 Lady Buckjumpers007 Lady Buckjumpers009 Lady Buckjumpers010 Lady Buckjumpers011 Lady Buckjumpers012 Lady Buckjumpers013 Rebirth Brass Band014 Rebirth Brass Band015 Lady Buckjumpers016 Rebirth Brass Band017 Gloria's Restaurant018 Lady Buckjumpers019 Lady Buckjumpers020 Lady Buckjumpers021 Lady Buckjumpers022 Lady Buckjumpers023 Broadway Bar025 Rebirth Brass Band026 Rebirth Brass Band028 Lady Buckjumpers030 Rebirth Brass Band031 Lady Buckjumpers032 Lady Buckjumpers033 Lady Buckjumpers036 Lady Buckjumpers037 Lady Buckjumpers038 Lady Buckjumpers039 Lady Buckjumpers040 At the Second-Line041 Lady Buckjumpers043 Lady Buckjumpers044 Lady Buckjumpers045 Lady Buckjumpers046 Lady Buckjumpers047 Lady Buckjumpers048 Lady Buckjumpers049 Rebirth Brass Band051 Lady Buckjumpers052 Lady Buckjumpers053 Positive Brothers054 Lady Buckjumpers055 At the Second-Line056 At the Second-Line057 Lady Buckjumpers058 Lady Buckjumpers059 Lady Buckjumpers060 Lady Buckjumpers061 Buckjumpers062 Buckjumpers063 Buckjumpers064 Buckjumpers065 Buckjumpers066 Buckjumpers067 Buckjumpers068 Buckjumpers069 Buckjumpers070 Buckjumpers071 Buckjumpers072 Buckjumpers073 Lady Buckjumpers074 Lady Buckjumpers075 Lady Buckjumpers076 Lady Buckjumpers077 Buckjumpers078 Lady Buckjumpers079 Lady Buckjumpers082 Lady Buckjumpers083 Lady Buckjumpers084 Lady Buckjumpers085 Lady Buckjumpers086 Lady Buckjumpers087 Rebirth Brass Band088 Lady Buckjumpers089 Lady Buckjumpers090 Food Trucks091 Food Trucks092 Rebirth Brass Band093 Rebirth Brass Band096 Rebirth Brass Band099 Silky's100 Lady Buckjumpers101 Silky's102 Silky's103 At the Second-Line104 At the Second-Line105 At the Second-Line106 At the Second-Line107 At the Second-Line108 Rebirth Brass Band109 Rebirth Brass Band111 Lady Buckjumpers112 A the Second-Line113 At the Second-Line114 At the Second-Line115 At the Second-Line116 Lady Buckjumpers117 Lady Buckjumpers118 Lady Buckjumpers119 Rebirth Brass Band121 Lady Buckjumpers122 Rebirth Brass Band123 Rebirth Brass Band124 Lady Buckjumpers125 Lady Buckjumpers126 Lady Buckjumpers127 Lady Buckjumpers129 Rebirth Brass Band130 Lady Buckjumpers131 Central City Grocery132 Central City Grocery133 Rebirth Brass Band135 Lady Buckjumpers136 Dancing on a Grave138 Lady Buckjumpers139 Buckjumpers140 Lady Buckjumpers141 Food Trucks142 Lady Buckjumpers
In New Orleans, “buckjumping” is another name for second-lining (in Memphis, it refers to “gangsta walking”), but the term “buckjump” seems to have masculine connotations, and by some accounts, in the earlier days of Black New Orleans culture, it was not common for women to second-line. So, when a group of women started a social aid and pleasure club, they named it the Lady Buckjumpers. Nowadays, they have a men’s auxiliary called the Male Buckjumpers, and their uptown New Orleans parade in November featured two brass bands, the Stooges and the Rebirth, and was one of the largest second-lines I have ever seen. Despite being the Sunday after Thanksgiving, the weather was warm and sunny, and there was a decent crowd at the beginning of the parade route, and of course second-lines pick up participants as they proceed. Here and there, exuberant dancers jumped up on power boxes, roofs, porches, and even graves as we passed by a cemetery, while others slammed the street signs as hard as they could, a tradition whose rationale has been lost to time. At each stop along the route, the crowd seemed to grow larger, and at one of them, the Rebirth Brass Band didn’t take the break, but rather gathered in a circle and played a haunting rendition of “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday.” The act seemed a ritual, probably in honor of fallen musicians. My homeboy Darren from the TBC Brass Band had come with me, and fortunately, he had left his car at one end of the parade, and I had left mine at the other, as this was one of those second-lines that ended several miles away from where it started. At the end of it, I was thoroughly tired, but the pleasant sort of tired, for nobody can really leave a second-line unhappy.