POSTED Mon. Oct 21, 2013
Happy Amazing Day, New Orleans
Adam Karlin
Written by ADAM KARLIN

In other cities I’ve lived in, my favorite day of the year is an unofficial holiday I call flip-flop day. It’s the day when the weather gets so consistently warm I know I can wear sandals through the rest of spring and summer.

It’s hard to pinpoint a good flip flop day in New Orleans. You can have a run of warm days in the darkest depths of January. You never have to shelve your sandals for too long here, is what I’m saying.

But this weekend, I realized New Orleans has its own version of flip flop day. My epiphany came when I was walking down Burgundy St to a Second Line dressed more or less like a ninja. I passed no less than five separate groups of people all dressed in a way that would turn heads in any other city – tutus, wigs, skeleton body suit, feather capes and robes, full body crawfish outfits, Greek gods – whichare just the normal abnormal of New Orleans. And I knew: every week between now and Jazzfest, I will see something in New Orleans which cannot be replicated elsewhere. Every week between now and the summer soup will involve Second Lines, or costumes, or street music, or some combination of all the above. Any time a friend visits, they will see something stupendous and different and soul enriching, and they will say, “So I guess I came on a good week,” and I will smile and say, “Yes, you did, but it’s kind of always like this here.”

What do I call this day, the beginning of the cool weather and the parades and the carnivals and the chaos? “The autumn of normal?” No, too pretentious. “Quirktober”? No, because you could argue all of the above starts in September.

My buddy Nora Ellersten can often be seen at a Second Line or weird downriver parade. She’ll watch the proceedings, her eyes will light up, and she’ll smile and say, “A-MAZE-ing!” Which really just nails it, doesn’t it? So I’m unofficially officially declaring this day, whenever it may fall whenever in the year, to be Amazing Day. This past weekend, when there were three Second Lines on St Claude Ave in the space of 12 hours, seems like a good marker for the holiday.

Here are some pictures of the Black Men of Labor 20th Anniversary Second Line on Sunday. The little dog above (pic by Andrew Holbein) is awesome, right? He’s my animal mascot for Amazing Day.

The awesome African-themed Second Line umbrellas spinning from St Claude up St Bernard.

The Treme Brass Band. Killing it.

You’ve gotta respect a skilled Second Line booty pop.

Everything happening in the above is why we live here.

I didn’t see many tourists at any of this weekend’s three Second Lines. Sad face. I hope visitors don’t think those made by marketing group convention-and-conference parades are actual street culture. Get out there and see some of our real local culture, every Sunday – check out WWOZ’s Takin’ it to the Streets for more information.


    Our Local Publisher Partners

    • The Arts Council of New Orleans
    • WWNO
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    • PRC
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    • Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities
    The Arts Council of New Orleans

    The Arts Council of New Orleans is a private, non-profit organization designated as the City’s official arts agency. The Arts Council serves as one of eight regional distributing agencies for state arts funds and administers available municipal arts grants and the Percent For Art program for the City of New Orleans. The Arts Council works in partnership with the City of New Orleans, community groups, local, state, and national governmental agencies, and other nonprofit arts organizations to meet the arts and cultural needs of the New Orleans community through a diversity of initiatives and services.


    WWNO, the NPR member station for New Orleans, serves southeast Louisiana and parts of southwest Mississippi by broadcasting balanced news, thought provoking analysis, classical music, jazz and other musical styles, intelligent entertainment, and unique local content. We broadcast on 89.9 FM, and KTLN 90.5 FM in the Houma-Thibodaux area as a public service of the University of New Orleans. All of WWNO’s programs, including its growing local news coverage, are available online at


    WWOZ 90.7 FM is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Station offering listener-supported, volunteer-programmed community radio. WWOZ covers many events live in and around the city and across the United States, and broadcasts live from the famed New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival annually. WWOZ’s mission is to be the worldwide voice, archive, and flag-bearer of New Orleans culture and musical heritage.


    Preservation Resource Center (PRC) has been preserving, restoring, and revitalizing New Orleans’ historic architecture and neighborhoods since 1974. Throughout its history, PRC has acted as an advocacy agent on a local, regional, and national scale, spreading the word about the city’s rich architectural heritage and the economic importance of preserving this heritage. PRC also takes a hands-on approach to preservation, with a history of successfully restoring over 1,400 properties. The center strengthens and revitalizes New Orleans in a way that is forward-looking and sustainable, yet sensitive to the city’s past and its heritage.


    As a nexus for the arts in New Orleans, NOMA is committed to preserving, interpreting, and enriching its collections and renowned sculpture garden; offering innovative experiences for learning and interpretation; and uniting, inspiring, and engaging diverse communities and cultures.

    The Historic New Orleans Collection

    The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) is a museum, research center, and publisher dedicated to preserving the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. Its holdings comprise more than one million items from more than three centuries, documenting moments both major and minor. Its four exhibition spaces–the Williams Gallery, the Louisiana History Galleries, the Boyd Cruise Gallery, and the Laura Simon Nelson Galleries for Louisiana Art–faithfully depict the multicultural stories of the region, from permanent displays exploring the evolution of Louisiana to rotating exhibitions showcasing history and fine art.

    Southern Food

    The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is a nonprofit living history organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink and the related culture of the South. While based in New Orleans, the Museum examines and celebrates all the cultures that have come together through the centuries to create the South’s unique culinary heritage. The Museum is also home to the collections of the Museum of the American Cocktail, the Galerie d’Absinthe, and a demonstration kitchen.

    Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities to all Louisianans.

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ mission is to provide all Louisianans with access to and an appreciation of their own rich, shared and diverse historical, literary and cultural heritage through grant-supported outreach programs, family literacy and adult reading initiatives, teacher professional development institutes, publications, film and radio documentaries, museum exhibitions, cultural tourism, public lectures, library projects, and other public humanities programming.



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