Nima Taradji Photography

Second Line
Location: Chicago
Nationality: American
Biography: NIMATARADJI photography +1-312-925-3500 +1-866-701-3686 I am an Iranian-American editorial and documentary photographer based in Chicago, Illinois.  Cultural, social and political themes attract my curiosity. My aim is... read on
Public Story
Second Line
Credits: nima taradji photography
Date of Work: 12/16/17 - Ongoing
Updated: 01/20/19
One of the most unique and quintessential New Orleans traditions can be found played out every Sunday in the Second Line Parade. Rooted in the history of social clubs, brass bands, and funeral jazz, these parades happen almost every week at a different location in the city. Primarily an African American cultural event, a Social Club invites a brass band to lead the parade while the Second Line of revelers - comprised of neighbors, friends, and onlookers - gathers behind them. Essentially a rolling party the group marches to the music by the brass band; they drink, eat, and socialize along the route on Sunday afternoons. In addition to the parade, neighbors come out, libation in hand, to watch the festivities go by. It is one of the most fantastic events this photographer has witnessed.

Originally, the Second Line formed organically behind a band playing music for a funeral or other celebration. As the band, or the “main line” passed by, people joined in and followed the music forming the “second line.” Social Clubs formed after the civil war when the newly emancipated slaves found that insurance companies refused to insure them. In response, neighborhood social clubs formed where dues paying members benefited from the group resources in the form of insurance against sickness, fire and theft and other unexpected events. Additionally the social clubs would hire bands for funerals that would play somber dirges on the way to the cemetery and then play more festive songs on the way back, celebrating the life of the person that was just buried.

These clubs morphed into what is now called “Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs” and their function is no longer as it was when they started in the late 1800’s—although they do still serve to the inner-city population as a sort of emergency relief resource. In addition to the Sunday second line parades, they deliver groceries to the needy, help local sports clubs, and still extend some help those who are facing unexpected expenses. As shown in this essay, each Sunday they hire a band to march along a pre-determined route to lead the Second Line celebration.

This is an ongoing project.


By Nima Taradji Photography —

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