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Second-Line Parades Continue In Defiance Of Last Week's Violence

As the New Orleans Police Department continues to investigate the motives behind last week’s Mother’s Day parade shooting, the city’s Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs are sticking to their second-line schedules.

Just a week after the Mother’s Day shootings, which injured 20, the Divine Ladies Social Aid & Pleasure Club hit the streets of Central City for their annual parade, dedicated to the victims of last week’s shooting. Before the parade even began, hundreds had gathered at the corner of St. Charles Ave. and St. Peter St. to show their support. Among them, members of the Original Big 7 Social Aid and Pleasure Club, who hosted last week’s Mother’s Day Parade.

Big 7 member Terry Gable says that although their parade was stopped short by violence, the tradition will endure.

“They ain’t gonna stop the second line in New Orleans, that’s our culture,” said Gable. “We’re gonna stop those little youngsters from shooting, We can stop that, but we ain’t gonna stop the second line.“

There was an air of joyful defiance as the Divine Ladies made their grand entrance along St. Charles Ave. aboard a double-decker tour bus. The ladies, decked out in hot pink and turquoise suits, danced and waved feather fans as the Stooges Brass Band played, then descended from the bus into the growing crowd.

The parade unfolded in typical fashion — complete with brass bands, floats, rolling coolers full of beverages, and lots of dancing. 

Throughout the parade there was little mention of last week’s shootings. For Charles Taylor, a resident of Central City whose younger brother was shot and killed at a second line parade, what happened on Mother’s Day is symptomatic of deeper issues in the community, including gang violence.  He says it won’t keep him from something he’s done all his life.

“That still don’t stop me from coming,” said Taylor. “As long as it’s going on, I’m gonna be a part of it. Then it might be my unlucky day one day. Only God knows.”

This news content made possible with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.