Everything about New Orleans was perfect. The creole food was delicious, the jazz was mesmerizing and the pillowy beignets were ‘melt in your mouth’, ‘died and gone to heaven’ kind of moments.
I planned to eat my weight in Nola, I planned to spend my nights listening to jazz on Frenchmen Street and I most definitely planned eating at least 3 beignets a day.
But sometimes the best things about travel are the moments you can’t plan. And on the last day in New Orleans, I stumbled, casually stumbled across the most amazing experience; a Second Line Parade. It was one of the moments where I felt like I had hit the travel jackpot.
Second Lines are traditional brass band parades that happen in New Orleans and are huge part of the culture in the city.
And for me, seeing, feeling and immersing myself in this culture was way better than any wall of art or museum I could go to.
This was real.
The parade began at 12pm in the side streets of a local neighborhood and weaved its way around the area for four hours! Four bands marched took over at least 8-10 blocks at a time.
So what more was there to do?
I joined the second line and walked the full four hours with the locals. Some locals waited on their stoop or hung out windows as the parade passed through, other walked along with the bands drinking, laughing and dancing.
The passion of the locals was inspiring. The young brass players, blowing the horns with so much ferocity you could see the beads of sweat drip down their faces.
The kids from the children’s band, marching in bright pink, blue, green and yellow suits decorated with feathers and tambourines in hand.
The men all dressed in the traditional attire all stepping in sync as they walked to the beat of the brass bands.
And the locals joining in; A woman with her hair in curlers and still wearing pajamas like she had no care in the world as she joined in dancing with her neighbors.
Second line parade refer to those who join in the rolling excitement, but it can also describe the type of dance that you see in the parades; a strutting kind of step to carry the bands and second liners forward.
I went to a second line, I was in a second line and I did the second line.
Herstory is a weekly column on women and travel by Steph Ridhalgh. Steph is a Sydney born; New York based television producer and travel blogger. Not one for being quiet for too long she simply loves talking about travel and lifestyle.
Steph is the founder of STEP(h) ABROAD, a travel and lifestyle resource for those who love to be in the know and know how.