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  • Stuck in traffic, we catch a glimpse of a Second Line snaking its way down a cross street ahead of us. With apologies to the friend driving, we book it out of the car and chase the procession on foot. I push into the crowd where the members of the Revolution Social Aid and Pleasure Club have paused, the street clogged ahead of them. These are men unafraid of the color pink. Each member wears a matching tan suit, pink tie, and a large elaborate sash across his chest, constructed of hundreds of handmade bows in pink, yellow, green. Each waves a fan made of the sort of giant feathers usually associated with Vegas showgirls. They're ringed by people holding up a rope to prevent the crowd from spilling into the area where the club members will dance. Because dancing-- that's essential. Inevitable.

    The band starts up, teenagers with sousaphones, saxophones, ballcaps on backwards. The crowd is half-walking, half-dancing, toasting the Sunday afternoon with beer bottles, daiquiris in to-go cups. One man carries a little parasol and does the shimmy.

    I love this. But I want to find the Indians.

    We head towards Taylor Park, and the crowd gets so dense that people seem to have given up and are just partying in place, eating snoballs, buying cold beers from the men dragging coolers behind them. You can see the Indians from the entrance to the park: they're technicolor islands in the sea of people. Mountains of feathers in purple, scarlet, gold. There are face-offs, flag boys slinging chants at one another. And then there are groups that seem to have abandoned any pretense of Indian battle. They huddle together, tambourines flying, writhing in song. The call, the response. Words sung at random, hurled from the mouth of a little man in a green jumpsuit, his voice shredded by the day's end.

    The afternoon has been all heat and movement, music and strangers at my hip, my back, all of us spinning out the same abandon. "I want this to be my every Sunday," I say to the man next to me. He flashes me a smile full of gold teeth and says:

    "This is New Orleans. This is what we do."
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