Photo Op: Eric Waters Snaps Squirk at the Second Line

Squirky Man, second line, photo, Eric Waters

Squirk by Eric Waters

I have documented New Orleans culture in all its forms for 35 years. Having been mentored by Marion Porter, the great New Orleans photojournalist, I learned to appreciate the rhythm and culture of a people—New Orleans people. Photographing the Mardi Gras Indians, the second lines and the musicians became a passion and a privilege. It has been my good fortune to meet the likes of Danny Barker, Harold “Duke” Dejean, Milton Batiste, Kidd Jordan, Dr. Michael White, “Tootie” Montana, Darryl Montana, Donald Harrison Sr. and Jr. and a host of premier second line dancers that are too numerous to mention. However, there is one performer who commands mention—Oliver “Squirk” Hunter (the man in the photo).  I’ve documented “Squirk” since he was a Grand Marshall at a second line funeral at the age of nine or ten.  He has since become legendary. The second line is a freedom dance.  An expression of this freedom is evident in this photo of “Squirk” leaping into the air with his hat flying off his head. My journey as a photographer continues. The ability to photograph this rich and necessary culture is a blessing and a responsibility.