Gentilly Girl- a part of the 99%

May 3, 2008

The Second Time on the “Second Lines”…

Last Saturday, a major dissing of our Cultures and Traditions here in New Orleans went down: Da’ NOPD broke up a Second Line, a Jazz Funeral, in the Treme last Saturday. (Of course the local paper didn’t report on the event until the wee hours of the morning today.) This was as the mourners had finished and were walking to a place to share the Repast at a Community Center.
For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of this kind of funerary rite, here’s what it entails:`a procession heads toward the ceremonial place of passing (could be a business, a fishing hole, a certain park or the cemetery.) A brass band leads the folks playing dirges. When the selected place is reached, the words are said and the departed is ready to move on. Then the band strikes up a different beat and the mourners start to dance in order to help their friend move on to the other World. “Dancing them Home” is also a way to stop the tears and just remember our friend as we continue through day-to-day life. We are a Family. We take care of our own.
Once the Second Line is done, the folks gather in places and share food, drink and stories about the departed. Some members of the “Family” might be at one place, others at others. But this is usually how it goes down.
This is a Sacred ritual. It is rooted in Culture and Tradition, Respect and Humanity. This act is seen as essential by many of us as part of our Heritage and our City. Events such as this define us as a people and a Culture, the continuation of what has been for many, many years. As a Native I will say now: “This is part of our Birthright, our being a part of the Life that moves through the heavy damp air as it sways the Spanish Moss on the oak trees. Here is where we came from and in the fullness of time where we shall return. The muddy waters of Old Man River, the clays in the swamps… the scent of cypress trees… all of these things are also part of us. We dance the Dance of Life, knowing full well the fragility of the living, and we will not give our ancestral ways up. This is our home and these are our Traditions. This is OUR Dance.”.

This is why what happened last Saturday is an attack and an affront to the Culture of New Orleans. It is orchestrated by those of money and power. Our city is badly damaged by the Federal Flood, and they want the land for speculation, for those who would buy a condo near the French Quarter in order to “celebrate” three days once every year at Mardi Gras. To break the back of the old Cultures in order to be able to schedule and charge for every little thing we locals do as a matter of course. To make their way our way. These are the desires of malignantly evil creatures.

These are the carpetbaggers, those who swoop down when the we are hurting and gnaw on our bones even as we die. They only see New Orleans as a cash register, not the living entity that it truly is. Our Life, our city’s Life, is something they can never know. The Spirit of Place can never enter them because they cannot “feel”.

New Orleans belongs to Her people and they to Her. Native or adopted, it doesn’t really matter: we are all infected with Her elixier… the “Water of Life”. Our strange little anachronistic bastion of the Old World infused with the desire to just be ourselves in the midst of American Culture gone crazy. The reminder of what could be, if only one accepts it.

One paragraph of the above article caught my eye:

“Snuffing Saturday’s parade was an “attack on the culture,” the same culture that gave birth to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, said Wilson’s longtime friend, Jerome Smith. He found the timing ironic: At about the same time that police had scattered an authentic funeral march, near Esplanade and Claiborne avenues, Jazz and Heritage Festival-goers were lined up behind a band at the Fair Grounds, ready to follow a second-line recreated for tourists.”

Need I say more?

Senn Fein


Perfesser Ashley Morris, a determined lover and defender of New Orleans and Her Culture passed one month ago yesterday. I can almost hear him ranting about this. He did have his Second Line, and he’d be pissed that someone else couldn’t have their’s.
We have established a fund to help his family through this rough period in time. Please donate.


  1. It’s even more heartbreaking in light of the fact that the funeral was for a beloved coach, a man who worked with the city’s children. That’s what rebirth, continuing the culture, is about.

    “It was especially disappointing to the children,” Johnson said. “They were trying to say goodbye to someone who had been influential in their lives.”

    On Saturday, Quinn was paying respect to Coach T-Gully with her footwork, she said.

    “I had run track for him. And I was second-lining for him,” she said. “But the police said we had to stop.”

    . . . . . . .

    Comment by virgotex — May 3, 2008 @ 5:31 am

  2. Bingo Darlin’!

    To kill the the chain of events, the continuity… creates the end of a Culture.

    End the Culture, and the spoils are yours.

    I hate Fuckmooks!

    Comment by Morwen Madrigal — May 3, 2008 @ 5:40 am

  3. What the fuh-hell?!?!??!?! I haven’t read the article, am too afraid I will throw many things and ruin my tele. So forgive me for not knowing the (ahem) whys and wherefores of the bust up…

    Why in the Goddess’ green earth would they do that?!?!?!? More ‘suspected’ criminals might be lurking??? There wasn’t a permit filed???? I am sorry, f*ck the permit for a second line…I think the families and friends involved in a second line have a LOT more they are needing to deal with other than a permit to parade.
    Sadly, I do not live in New Orleans, but every day that passes that I am not there I feel more and more like that mermaid Madison in “Splash!” with my soul getting weaker and weaker. So I humbly ask: Please, for the love of the Lord and Lady all around us, can I tap one of the effing carpet baggers on the shoulder and tell them to get lost and I take their place???
    What really makes me mad is that so many folks around the country and in positions of power say to not rebuild, let it go…but on the other side of their gaping maws they are in negotiations to appropriate properties to demo and build worthless millions of dimes-a-dozen strip malls and national chains or a hella mansion-filled neighborhood – WTF?!?!?! Can’t have it both ways – they need to invest in getting New Orleans back to ITSELF but improve the schools/infrastructure and then leave her the eff alone as far as changing her “CULTCHA” and pandering to tourists… Tourists come to New Orleans because of her history, because of ‘her’ – not to come to the newest Pottery Barn and Ann Taylor. When I am there, I make a point to see the new stuff at Attala Art and (well I used to go to it) Rouge Beauty. Heck, I am sick to death of such omnipresent crap in my own burg, I seek out the individual, local folks even here in Hell-ston.
    A ‘second line’ set up for ‘da tourists’ when they have JUST destroyed a valid, can’t be replicated second line….!??!?! Pardon me, I must go clean up the mess from where my head just ‘asploded’…
    To all the fine ladies and gentlemen that are trying to fight for New Orleans – know that I am not physically there, but I AM there in spirit every day and I am coming (sadly just a visit) in July…and if I can swing it financially, sneaking in before then. And I am going to be playing the lotto here so that maybe I can cut my ties w/this (ugh) ‘city’ and move to my soul’s home and fight the good fight and have some lettuce to move some red-tape mountains…

    Sinn Fein, indeed!!!! Ashley, I never got to chat to you/meet you, but you are a brother from another mother to me!
    Rest well friend and once you are ready, you know the ones to give a cosmic bitchslap to!!!

    Peace, love and snowballs!

    Comment by Elspeth R — May 3, 2008 @ 7:53 am

  4. May i suggest a massive “protest” second line in treme. Get thousands of people to second line, get as many brass bands as you can. Have the police break that up. It’ll bring the actions of NOPD to national attention.

    Comment by karen — May 4, 2008 @ 3:29 pm

  5. Karen,

    I have some things wandering around my mind along the lines of what you recommended. Just need for Jazz Fest to end so’s I can grab folks’ attentions.

    Comment by Morwen Madrigal — May 4, 2008 @ 5:57 pm

  6. Morwen, please let me know when you decide on something – hopefully my schedule will dovetail w/a visit and I can participate, too!
    Sinn Fein! Elspeth

    Hey, NOPD, find and solve real crimes – leave mourners alone – or else I shall say FYYFF a second time!!!

    Comment by Elspeth R — May 4, 2008 @ 8:34 pm

  7. Don’t worry Darlin’s, I might be biding time awaiting the final info shit, but a plan is in mind.

    Comment by Morwen Madrigal — May 8, 2008 @ 4:28 am

  8. [...] even the police acknowledge. But here are the money lines in the Times-Picayune story (which Gentilly Girl points out appeared a week after the actual incident): It’s unclear who broke up last week’s [...]

    Pingback by bark, bugs, leaves, and lizards » Blog Archive » F.Y.Y.F.F.: NOPD Edition - don’t eat that stuff — January 16, 2009 @ 4:21 pm

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