The Second Line

Jackson Square

May 23, 2008
8:00 p.m.

A tradition unique to the city of New Orleans...

We've found a lot of different versions of the second line's history but our favorite is the most simple:

The modern second line came about because during Mardi Gras people would follow their favorite "Main Line" or marching band through the streets.  These fans and curious onlookers quickly became known as the "second line" or part two of a planned street parade. 

What you need to know about the modern second line...

  1. When in New Orleans, a newly married couple may choose to organize a Main Line parade to escort their guests from the ceremony to the reception.
  2. Strangely decorated umbrellas and canes are involved.
  3. It is tradition for all second-liners to dance "unconventionally" and wave white hankerchiefs to the music being played (no, we're not kidding). Ladies, don't forget to bring an extra, comfy pair of shoes.
  4. Second Line parades can last up to an hour.
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