The Convention and Visitors Bureau of New Orleans depends heavily on the marketing appeal of crowds parading through the streets of its neighborhoods in a “second line” following a brass band. The occasion can be a happy one when, for example, one of the city’s many Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs comes out on a Sunday, just for the joy of parading. Sometimes the mood is somber, when the crowds gather to remember someone who has passed away.
Last Monday, Rebirth Brass Band snare drummer Derrick Tabb and his brother, trombonist Glen David Andrews, received citations from the New Orleans Police Department for disturbing the peace and parading without a permit. Both learned later at their arraignment that they were also charged with "disturbing the peace by tumultuous manner." The procession was prompted by the death of their friend, a tuba player, the previous week. As the two men’s attorney put it after their appearance in municipal court, the charge "speaks volumes about the disconnect between some officers and the culture of New Orleans.” The two men entered innocent pleas.
Walter Gallas is director of the New Orleans Field Office.