“One Sunday every year, each of these social aid and pleasure clubs has a Sunday when they parade,” Johnson said. “It’s Sunday afternoon, and during that Sunday, the club who’s throwing that particular celebration is the one who is highlighted.”
Johnson said each of the clubs will pay for their band and wear elaborate costumes for the celebration.
“It is not like a parade where you stand in one place and watch it go by,” Johnson said. “The parade is literally a dance floor that goes through a route on the streets that has significance to that particular club.”
Johnson said he takes a lot of pictures of people, and with this style of photography in the context of second line parades, he is documenting the cultures of contemporary New Orleans.
“First of all, and obviously, they’re just really well-shot photos,” said Isabel Stellato, a UNC sophomore who is interested in photography. “They’re creative too. I really like how every picture has someone’s expression in it, and a lot of the people are caught in action, like dancing.”
Stellato said she enjoys photography because of how it conveys emotions to people who can’t witness these events going on firsthand. She said even though she’s never been to New Orleans to see these parades, she can feel the intensity and celebration through these photos.
“This is part of our series called ‘Art at the Center,’” said Ayse Erginer, executive editor of Southern Cultures. “Typically we have photography exhibitions, but we do all types of visual art here, and we have a new one that happens with each semester.”
Erginer said Pableaux Johnson has photographed these New Orleans second line parades for the last decade or so, and that Johnson is essentially allowed to be part of the parades in order to capture these photographs.
Each social aid and pleasure club has its own tradition, color scheme, history and theme for their second line parade.
“He gives back images to the community, and any sales from these images he shares with the subject of the photograph,” said Erginer. “It’s important for him to document the tradition.”