41. Umbrella Gallery

The umbrellas adorning this gallery were donated by the Comrades Social Club. The Comrades celebrate at their yearly ball with a “second line dance,” as shown on the video. Umbrellas are a unique feature of the second line dance, having gotten their start at Creole and New Orleans celebrations. These traditions began during jazz funerals, where by the first group of people following the hearse were the mourners, while the second group were celebrating the life of the deceased.

The second group were also accompanied by a band which led them to dance or strut to the beat. Many folks carried umbrellas to shield themselves from the hot, Southern sun. Dancing with umbrellas gave rise to the Carnival tradition of the second line dance. Today, many indoor second line dancers carry a handkerchief instead of an umbrella, and the party lives on.