Information was scant on the Satchmo Summerfest Second Line that went off yesterday morning on the final day of the big Louis Armstrong party in the French Quarter.
We knew that Al Johnson was the guest of honor; we knew the Baby Dolls would be there and we knew that Zulu Social Aid And Pleasure Club were marching but we had no idea where the sortie was taking off; just that it was somewhere in the French Quarter.
We got on the hotfoot and walked from the Bywater to the US Mint to see if we could vector in on what was shaping up to be one of the biggest second lines of the year.
A kindly bouncer working the gate gave us the info we needed and we got back on the hoof to make our way to Saint Mark’s Methodist Church on North Rampart.
Al Johnson was standing on the sidewalk!
We immediately besieged the poor man for photos so the Scrumptious crew could have visual documentation of the greatness of this legend.
Soon enough the distant strains of the Treme Brass Band were heard and just then a massive crowd of people came marching riverbound down Gov. Nicholls Street.
The second line was on.
We danced to the horns of Kinfolks Brass Band, we mamba-d to Treme Brass Band, we died a thousand deaths at the object beauty of the Billion Dollar Baby Dolls, we gave proper respect to the hardworking men of Zulu, we saluted Al Johnson and the immaculate lady (Resa Bazile aka Baby Doll Cinnamon Black) who rode along side him on the big Satchmo float.
And we cried at the absence of Joelle Lee, the queen of all New Orleans baby dolls.
This second line was a short one, we’ve been on some that are so long you wonder if you’re going to make the whole parade or if you’re going to come down with a bad case of the vapors.
Perhaps the brevity was in recognition of Al Johnson’s age?
And of course this being New Orleans we walked past a few spent shell casings on Esplanade, turns out there was a shooting a few hours prior to the parade’s passing.