Not all the second-liners are dancers. Some participate in the rhythm with sticks, cowbells or empty beer bottles, anything that can keep a beat. Interviews with older New Orleanians suggest that at one time, when neighborhood rivalries were fiercer, second-liners had the responsibility of protecting the band and marchers from attack and carried weapons. Nowdays, their weapons are strictly musical, reinforcing the clave patterns of the bands’ bass drums. 

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