Jazz Religion, the Second Line, and Black New Orleans: After Hurricane Katrina

Jazz Religion, the Second Line, and Black New Orleans: After Hurricane Katrina

Jazz Religion, the Second Line, and Black New Orleans: After Hurricane Katrina

Jazz Religion, the Second Line, and Black New Orleans: After Hurricane Katrina

Synopsis

An examination of the musical, religious, and political landscape of black New Orleans before and after Hurricane Katrina, this revised edition looks at how these factors play out in a new millennium of global apartheid. Richard Brent Turner explores the history and contemporary significance of second lines--the group of dancers who follow the first procession of church and club members, brass bands, and grand marshals in black New Orleans's jazz street parades. Here music and religion interplay, and Turner's study reveals how these identities and traditions from Haiti and West and Central Africa are reinterpreted. He also describes how second line participants create their own social space and become proficient in the arts of political disguise, resistance, and performance.

Excerpt

The inspiration for this book can be traced to Sidney Bechet’s reflections about New Orleans music in Treat It Gentle: An Autobiography: jazz is “there in that bend in the road” in the American South and “you gotta treat it gentle.” Like the saxophonist Bechet, I have traveled many roads to understand New Orleans music and the joy and pain “alongside it.” I owe thanks to the city of New Orleans, my home from 1996 to 1999, for an extraordinary culture and community that I will never forget. the beautiful sounds of jazz and African drumming floating in the air and the joyful experience of the second line are always waiting for me on the road home to the Crescent City. My mother’s death in 1997, the Parker family’s love, and the spirit world of African American religion led me to that “bend in the road” along the Mississippi River that is the “music itself.”

The road to the music in Jazz Religion began in my hometown, Boston, Massachusetts, in the 1950s with the fascinating stories of the southern branch of my family in North Carolina that my mother, Mavis Turner, and my aunt, Kelsie Foreman, recited to me when I was a young boy. the exciting and mysterious life of my grandfather, Zedock Foreman, the handsome child of a former slave and former slave owner was at the crossroads of those southern stories that eventually brought me back home to the South, to my family’s roots.

My teachers at Princeton University also enabled this book’s publication with the excellent resources they provided in the 1980s. Thanks to John Wilson, who directed my Ph.D. program in the religion departto John Wilson, who directed my PhD program in the religion depart-

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