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Freedom's Dance

Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs in New Orleans

photographs by Eric Waters
narrative by Karen Celestan

248 pages / 10.00 x 9.50 inches / 143 color photos, 30 b&w photos, 6 line drawings

African-American Art | Dance (Folk) | African-American History

  Hardcover / 9780807168837 / February 2018

Freedom’s Dance provides a photographic and textual overview of the social, aid and pleasure club (SAPC) parade culture in New Orleans, tracking its origins in African traditions and subsequent development in Black New Orleans culture. Containing over 175 photographs by Eric Waters, Freedom’s Dance offers the first complete look at the SAPC Second Line tradition, ranging from ideological approaches to the contributions of musicians, development of specific rituals by various clubs, and parade accessories such as elaborately decorated fans and sashes. Karen Celestan’s vibrant text is supplemented with interviews of longtime culture-bearers such as Oliver “Squirk” Hunter, Lois Andrews (mother of Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews and James Andrews), Fred Johnson, Gregory Davis, and Lionel Batiste, while interdisciplinary essays by leading scholars detail the rituals, historic perspective, and purpose of the Second Line. Freedom’s Dance defines this unique public-private culture and captures every aspect of the Second Line, from SAPC members’ rollicking introductions at their annual parade to a funeral procession on its way to the crypt.

Eric Waters has been a professional photographer for more than forty years. He studied under the tutelage of the late Marion Porter, a respected African-American photographer. Waters’ iconic “Squirky Man” photo (1992) appeared as part of the opening photo montage for the HBO series Treme.

Karen Celestan is executive writer and editor in University Advancement and instructor of English at Texas Southern University in Houston. She was formerly a senior program manager for Music Rising at Tulane in the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South at Tulane University.

Extras for Freedom's Dance

Video: Treme Sidewalk Steppers Second Line 2017 (credit Cosette Richards)

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