Second Lines, Minstrelsy, and the Contested Landscapes of New Orleans Afro-Creole Festivals

Essay Excerpt

After a brief overview of the commodification of the second line, I introduce the conceptual approach to New Orleans as social landscape that informs the remainder of the article. The quotidian routines of spatial apartheid in a contested city are discussed as the context in which the ritual play of the second line is performed. I discuss my positionality as are searcher and the way in which my own participation in black working-class parades constructed my place in the racial/spatial order (Rahier 1998). I then turn to the ritual play of the second line. Fierceness and clowning, respectability and signifying, freedom and the memory of slavery all figure into the discussion of parade performance that makes up the body of the article. The conclusion revisits the relation between the popular performances and the staged second lines, which serve as vehicles for a broad variety of educational, political, and economic agendas.  (Regis, 473)

About the Author

Regis is a Professor at Louisiana State University.

Her research interests are as follows: race, performance, public space, Africa & Diaspora, New Orleans.

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