Jennifer Zdon, The Times-PicayuneDonna Llopis, from New Orleans, holds up a picture of Michael Jackson as she joins in with hundreds of other fans along St. Bernard Avenue to honor the legendary pop star with a second-line led by the Revolution Social Aid & Pleasure Club Sunday
They gathered on a 7th Ward corner to offer a traditional, raucous New Orleans send off befitting a king.
Just before dusk Sunday, the Revolution Social Aid & Pleasure Club began its march down St. Bernard Avenue, leading a second-line parade to honor Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, who died Thursday at age 50.
Joe Black, Revolution founder and organizer of the parade, said his initial estimate of 1,500 people was probably low.
Jennifer Zdon, The Times-PicayuneSome of the exuberant crowd in Sunday’s second-line parade to honor the legend of Michael Jackson.
The huge crowd said everything about Jackson’s enormous popularity. Black said he couldn’t estimate just how large the crowd grew, only saying it was a “very successful” day.
Despite the number of marchers, New Orleans police said no arrests were made along the mile-long route.
Like any second-line, the crowd swelled as it made its way down St. Bernard Avenue. Eventually, it spilled over the neutral ground into oncoming traffic headed toward the river.
Neighborhood residents joined in from side streets. Others set up chairs on the curb. Some drivers pulled their cars onto the neutral ground, got out and joined the celebration.
They danced to the sounds of the Rebirth Brass Band — joined in time by other brass bands, such as the Free Agents — and their renditions of Jackson’s hit songs, such as “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough.”
Jennifer Zdon, The Times-PicayuneDianne Bourdreaux holds up her one sequinned glove, a Michael Jackson trademark, as she second-lines with other fans on Sunday.
Many wore T-shirts emblazoned with the performer’s face. Others carried umbrellas with the King of Pop’s likeness.
Marcher Shack Brown did one better.
He wore one of Jackson’s staple outfits: a black fedora, jacket, pants and shoes, accented by a white T-shirt and socks, and the famous glove.
“I’ve been wearing this for three days” to celebrate Jackson’s life, Brown said.
At the end of the parade, he hopped on a pickup truck and started to dance in Jackson’s inimitable style.
“Mike had some kind of impact in everyone’s life,” he said. “Some of his life we didn’t like, but a lot of it we loved.”
Gail Collier marched the entire mile-long route.
She said that although she never met Jackson or even saw him live in concert, his music was the soundtrack of her life.
“I’m 46. It’s like I grew up with him,” she said minutes after the second-line ended at St. Bernard and North Miro Street. “It was like a childhood schoolmate I lost.”