Still from New Orleans Street Parade – 1968. Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 02-171.

New Orleans Street Parade

This film depicts the Onward Brass Band parading through the French Quarter of New Orleans and picking up second liners along the way. The parade and film were organized by Smithsonian Productions for an exhibition on jazz at the Anacostia Community Museum that ran from December 1, 1968 to January 15, 1969.

Every year at its annual conference, the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) hosts an event called Archival Screening Night (ASN). ASN is a chance for moving image archivists around the world to showcase films and videos from their collections, particularly items that have recently been preserved, restored, or remastered. This year, the annual conference was held in New Orleans, and the Archives had the privilege of closing out the night with a very appropriate film for the location, New Orleans Street Parade – 1968.

New Orleans Street Parade was filmed in the French Quarter of New Orleans by Smithsonian Productions for use in an exhibition on jazz at the Anacostia Community Museum. The film features the Onward Brass Band of New Orleans, led by grand marshal Danny Barker, marching through the French Quarter and picking up second liners along the way. Second liners are spectators and dancers who follow the parade along its route. Prior to the day of the parade, posters were put up around the area advertising the event and encouraging people to come join the fun, but the posters didn’t announce that the event was going to be filmed in order to get an authentic parade experience. The original exhibit itself featured two films projected on walls across from each other and a set of accompanying slides.

A copy of this film exists in the Hogan Jazz Archive at Tulane University, and in 2014, they received a National Film Preservation Foundation grant to have the work preserved and additional copies created. During the preservation process, it was discovered that the Archives had the original copy of the film in our collections, and that it had faired better over time than the version Tulane currently had undergoing preservation. As a result, our version of the film was sent out to be the master copy for the additional prints being generated. The original plan was for the new film prints to live in cold storage at the Smithsonian’s Museum Support Center, but once it was discovered that the original footage and prints lived at the Archives, the decision was made for us to keep the new prints. In addition, Tulane University received a DVD copy of the newly digitized and remastered film for their collections.

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