Nelson Mandela Memorialized With a Second Line Parade in New Orleans

Hat tip to Joyce Ladner on Facebook for this link.

I don’t doubt that many native New Orleanians also joined the parade, which began around 2:00 p.m. Central Time.

Thousands of miles away, New Orleanians from South Africa held a second line from Jackson Square to Congo Square to celebrate the life of the man who transformed their country.

St. Claire Adriaan grew up under apartheid. He knows first-hand the difference Nelson Mandela made.

“Seeing the difference in terms of dignity being brought back, humanity being brought back into people’s lives because growing up as a person of color, going through what we have gone through was dehumanizing,” said Adriaan.

For Zandi Ndebele Sutton, Mandela was like family.

“My uncle who raised me up was in prison with Nelson Mandela for 15 years,” she said.

Sutton marched the streets as part of Mandela’s youth leadership in the 1980s. She was there when he was released from prison, and is close with Mandela’s grandchildren.

“In public he was different than he was in a social environment. Most people knew his kindness, his integrity, his dignity that he exuded every where he showed up, but he really, really enjoyed jokes,” said Sutton.

“He taught us to read the newspaper, morning and evening. In the evening when we get together when we met him, he wanted to know ‘What did you learn today? What’s going on in the world?’ Since then that stayed with me.”

Trumpeter James Andrews, the older brother of New Orleans’ own Trombone Shorty (and Treme musician),  led the procession through the streets of the French Quarter to the border of Treme, or Congo Square.  The more hardcore partiers and musicians probably decamped to the Andrews family-owned The Oop Poo Pah Doo Bar raise a few toasts.  Remember, this was a celebration of a man’s life as well.

Mourners wrote messages to honor Mandela when the second line ended in Congo Square. Throughout the week, people can also sign a book honoring Mandela at St. Katherine Drexel Prepatory School, formerly Xavier Prep, on Magazine Street. The book will later become part of Mandela’s archives in South Africa.

“It’s like the passing of a family member, you want to be a part of it,” said Keith Doley, honorary consul for the Republic of South Africa to Louisiana.

Those who took part in the second line say the most important way to honor Mandela’s life is to continue his legacy of making a difference for his community, and fighting for both equality and reconciliation.

~ by blksista on December 15, 2013.

 
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