August 7, 2022 on

Day 92 – The Second Line and Po Boys

OMG! OMG! OMG! What a day! Karen and M.A. had a great day in store for me today. Though they were both working again and couldn’t join me, I took their suggestions to go to a Second Line parade and a Po Boy festival that was happening on the other side of town. Bonus: Their friends Dave and Joyce live just a half block off of the festival street and 20 yds from one of the festival stages, and they have a party and their own music. Karen sent them a note to expect me and Dave said, “Great! We need somebody to drink the beer!”

First, the Second. The Second Line that is. At a traditional NO funeral, a brass band follows the casket to the church and cemetery playing dirges. That’s the First Line. Leaving the funeral, the mood changes to celebration and happy music, and that’s the Second Line. Various organizations, a.k.a. “Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs” in NO have a Second Line parade almost every weekend. M.A. suggested I get there before the parade’s start time to watch the struts: each of the members marches out to the street doing their signature “move” and then the parade starts. I have a bunch of videos below to capture what goes on during a Second Line parade.

There was another surprise today. Standing at the start of the “strut” line, was Willem DaFoe, known for Platoon and Mississippi Burning and many, many other movies. He graciously stood for photographs by a couple of people, but not wanting to bother him more, I just snapped a pic!

M.A.’s other suggestion was to get a pork chop sandwich (bone in) from a “smoker” at the first stop, and a beer from the many vendors dragging coolers on wagons right in the middle of the parade. A variety of beers were 2 for $5. There were also vendors offering full bars with booze and any mixer you wanted, others selling turkey necks, po boys, sausages, pulled pork — just about anything you could want. Lots of pics and videos below.

From the Second Line, I was off to my next New Orleans experience, the Po Boy Festival. On the way there the traffic was so bad that I looped around the main street and stumbled on the NO Trolley barn. Must’ve been twenty or so 1940s vintage trolleys all lined up.

I had set my GPS to Dave’s and Joyce’s and made my way through the crowd to their house. They are only 200′ from the main festival on Oak St, and less that that from one of the stages. I found Dave and Joyce right away (there was a good crowd) and he led me to a place to park my bike and then to the beer. Joyce went off to give away leftover Halloween candy to fest goers. I had a beer and chatted with Dave and met his band. The band would play during breaks at the music stage and that happened soon after I got there. Vaudeville-like would be the best way to describe their genre; Steve, the songwriter on uke, Other Dave on stand up bass, and Dave on drums/rhythm and train whistle. A nice young woman named Amy sat down beside me and we started talking, and eventually Steve coerced us into dancing to one of his songs. It wasn’t much of a dance or a song. I walked out towards the street to refresh my beer and there was another couple, Maria and Brian who Amy knew. They all said I needed to experience the Po boy choices and hear the other music, so off we went. I had a shrimp and crabmeat dressing po boy and it was delicious. Amy had snagged a Hubig’s hand pie and shared it with me. Lemon filling wrapped in flaxy crust covered with sugar. The Hubig’s factory had burned down 10 years ago and this pie was one of 10,000 they were selling at the festival from their newly opened factory. I was extremely lucky to get a taste of one as they’re not in full production yet. Thanks to Amy!

There was a band coming on that the group wanted to hear, but as daylight savings time had moved up sunset by an hour, I had to leave to get on the bike and get back to M.A.’s and Karen’s before it got too dark. Once there, we went to their favorite Thai restaurant and I had a mushrooms, noodles and tofu dish that was a new experience for me; a different kind of spicy that wasn’t overwhelming (I could still feel my tongue) but was delectable. After dinner we went back home, watched the last inning of the world series and called it a night.

Second Line November 6, 2022
Second Line November 6, 2022
Second Line November 6, 2022
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1 Comment

  1. Sarah Rito

    Your hand pie pic should be part of their reopening marketing campaign : )

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