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Love NOLA: Second line Buddhas

Brett Will Taylor (photo by Jason Kruppa)

You just never know who you’re gonna meet at a NOLA second line. Take last Sunday’s Sudan and the Versatile Ladies of Style parade.

Sitting on my stoop (the parade goes right by my house), I met a bunch of “Hey baby’s,” a few “How you’s,” one or two “You lookin’ good’s” and many, many “You got the score?”s.

I also met a Buddha.

Now, I’m not talking about some Buddha sitting under a Bo tree or up on a mountain somewhere (please; this is New Orleans, baby!). No. I’m talking about a Buddha strutting down North Robertson on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, with a parasol in one hand and a brown paper-wrapped beer in the other.

He looked to be in his mid-50s. Black. Slim build. About 5’10”. With a smile so wide and bright it had to come from a higher power (be that God or the TBC Brass Band).

This man took a seat on my stoop as the second line slowed down at St Philip Street. You could tell by looking at him that he had that special something that made him a damned fun rascal to be around. Someone who saw the pure joy (and utter silliness) in just being alive.

As I watched a significant number of 40- and 50-something ladies make a beeline for this man perched on my stoop, I could tell that they, too, thought he had a, uh, special something.

“Oh Brother So-and-So,” they purred, offering him a big smile, a tight hug and an ever so discreet pat here (or there).

“You rascal,” I thought, laughing and shaking my head.

Now, Brother So-and-So would have remained just that — a damned happy, lucky and (apparently to certain Ladies of Style) gifted SOB — if things had ended there. But they didn’t.

After about the umpteenth lady approached him, a very tacked-back Sister So-and-So came up to him (I’d been watching her hang back, not about to lower herself to cluck around a crowd of hens).

She gave him a smile that made me avert my eyes. Stepped back. Wagged her finger at him and said, “Brother. How come you haven’t called me? I left you a message.”

And the Buddha took her hand, smiled and said, “Now Sister. You know I don’t listen to messages. I figure by the time I hear them, it’s already old news and why in the world would the good Lord want me to worry about what’s already past? If it’s important, it’ll catch up with me in the here and now. Just like you did.”

I loved it so much I almost grabbed Brother So-and-So here (but definitely not there!).

How often do all of us worry about what has already happened? Be it a missed phone call, a missed opportunity, even a missed love. Each time we do we step out of the present. Out of our lives. Missing the Buddhas among us. Stilling the one within.

Chasing the past, instead of dancing in the streets.

Brett Will Taylor writes Love: NOLA weekly for NolaVie. Visit his blog at


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