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Sweet SpotsIn-Between Spaces in New Orleans$
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Teresa A. Toulouse and Barbara C. Ewell

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781496817020

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2019

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496817020.001.0001

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The Cultural Democracy of the Second Line

The Cultural Democracy of the Second Line

A View from beyond the Ropes

(p.209) Chapter Eleven The Cultural Democracy of the Second Line
Sweet Spots

Joel Dinerstein

University Press of Mississippi

There has been a weekly Sunday African-American second-line parade for 150 years in New Orleans--a diffused democratic street ritual of performativity enacted through dance, music, and stylin'. The main action focuses on the sponsoring Social Aid and Pleasure Club, who parade between the ropes with their hired brass-band, on-stage and for public consumption. Yet the so-called second-liners rolling and dancing outside the ropes provide the peak moments of aesthetic excellence in their claiming of interstitial spaces: on the sidewalks between the street and house-lines; on church-steps, atop truck beds or along rooftops; on porches, stoops, and billboards. Drawing on a living tradition of New Orleans African-American expressive culture, individuals display creative style as both personal pleasure and social invigoration. The physical gestures and non-verbal messages of this vernacular dance are here analysed through a series of images by second-line photographer Pableaux Johnson.

Keywords:   Second-line parade, New Orleans African-American culture, Vernacular dance, Interstitial spaces

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