For Labor Day weekend: J’Ouvert

In the early hours of Labor Day, well before the sun comes up the J’ouvert party gets underway. The pictures here are a selection from my shots of the ’07 and ’08 parties.

J’ouvert  takes place around the world on islands which were once French colonies, continuing the long tradition of celebrating the emancipation from slavery in 1830s. Its a full-on street party with dancing, live music and sound systems — and should be respected. Don’t expect to be spared from the clouds of dust or sprays of paint. Cameras are sometimes un-welcome, but sometimes embraced.

This year’s Labor Day parade starts around 11am on Eastern Parkway. J’Ouvert usually starts sometime around 4am and the last two I attended ran along Flatbush avenue. I joined them in the Prospect Park section.

“Participants follow steel pan bands south on Flatbush Ave. to Empire Boulevard, east on Empire to Nostrand, then right on Nostrand to Linden Boulevard…The celebration is big on dancing and clouds of baby powder, which celebrants throw in the air and on each other along the route.” More >