Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Second Line.

Rykert loves the Saints. It's fandom that started in childhood, and despite the fact that the Saints have given their fans so many reasons, over the years, to stop cheering for them, he has continued support them. So it goes in New Orleans. The best metaphor I can give my fellow midwesterners is the Chicago Cubs. If you're a fan, You keep cheering for them even though you know it is likely that you will ultimately be disappointed. Via the rules of fandom and because I brought no fan allegiances into our marriage, I became a Saints fan by default. I'm relatively new to the party, but I'll be liberal and say my allegiances go back to 1997 when I moved to New Orleans for school.

The lucky t-shirt that hasn't been washed in a few weeks. But luckily is only worn for a few hours at a time.

This season, we've watched EVERY.SINGLE.GAME, or at least the majority of each game. We don't have the NFL package because we don't have a satellite, and therefore, we've had to watch the majority of these games at local bars and restaurants. I wish I could recover the money spent and the calories consumed on pints and wings over the past 5 months or so. But alas.

Rykert's a pretty mellow guy. And that's putting it mildly. He's a very mellow guy. So it was with utter surprise that I watched him scream like a little girl during the end of the game a couple of weeks ago. It was insane. And what was just as much fun was watching the reaction (sadly from afar) in the city of New Orleans. I mean where else do multiple brass bands start parading down the street to celebrate. The New Orleans Police Department has it's faults, but crowd control and letting people party is their expertise.

Parading in New Orleans is an art form. Both the spontaneous kind and the well managed, large-scale Mardi Gras productions. A related tradition, and something I'd never heard of until I moved there, is the Second Line.

Parade and Second Line at 2009 PoBoy Festival

The Second Line by definition is basically the impromptu parade that follows the parade. The Second Line is a critical component of a Jazz Funeral. The Main Line consists of the brass band (or in the case of a Jazz Funeral, the family of the deceased) and the other members, and they are followed by the Second Line. Second Line also references a specific type of dance that usually involves the twirling of a decorated parasol or handkerchief. (The only Jazz Funeral I've ever witnessed in person was for the former Tulane mascot, an unfortunate wave-like thing that was nicknamed Gumby, because it well, looked like Gumby, but wasn't actually Gumby - may he RIP.) The umbrellas or parasols were first used as a prop in Second Lines for purely utilitarian purposes - the processions were long and the climate is hot. That's the 30 second version of a culturally significant part of New Olreans (i.e. parading, social aid & pleasure clubs, Mardi Gras Indians). It's really fascinating and I'm the farthest thing from an expert, so if you are interested I'm sure there are other resources out there.*

Over the years, the Second Line Umbrella has evolved to be a symbol of celebration and an art form all its own. So when I saw this article earlier this week, I knew that I needed to make one. Even if there would be no parading in Iowa on Sunday regardless of the outcome.

Who Dat Saints Second Line Umbrella
Who Dat? For a little dance on Sunday.

If I had more time, I know I could really up the ante on the cheeseball factor.

We're still working on our menu for Sunday. But we have a bag of chips that we've been saving all season, and we may finally break down and eat them...

Who Dat
If' you've never had Zapps chips, then you've never had a greasy potato chip. It's what makes them so good.

* For information on the Mardi Gras Indians, I also suggest Dan Baum's book, Nine Lives. It chronicles 9 individuals who lived through Katrina, but doesn't define them by Katrina. It's a great book. Oh, and that's one of Rykert's BFF's photographs on the cover.

3 comment(s). Tell me what you think!:

Anonymous said...

Love the Saints even though I am from NY! I am a JETS fan so I can't root for the Colts! ;)

New Orleans is my 2nd favorite city in the US (second only to my NYC hometown) I can't wait to go back. For all the people who have rebuild. I wish the SAINTS all the luck in the world on Sunday!

Meagan said...

Oh I LOVE it!!! That umbrella is too fun. C'mon Sunday :)

And thank you for the condolences for Matt's dad. It's been a rough week but we know he's in a better place. Hugs to y'all.

janna said...

I'm rooting for the Saints, too. I've never lived there, but I've visited many times and have lots of friends there. They're all so excited - I don't know how anyone can NOT be a Saints fan today! (and YUM for the Zapps!)a

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