Winston Harbin just got caught breaking into the Wobble again. They caught it all on video. Don’t bother calling the cops, though.
The New Orleans Police Department homicide detective’s rolling, sliding dance moves while on duty on the Carnival parade route Saturday have become a viral online sensation. By Monday afternoon, a video of the dance attack had attracted more than 114,000 “shares” on the Facebook page of the woman who captured it, north shore resident Ginger Morris, and the numbers were rising fast.
Harbin and DeCynda Barnes, his partner in cold-case murder investigations, are seen busting their moves before an appreciative crowd at Canal and North Miro streets before the Endymion parade. What the video fails to capture, Harbin said, are the dozens of other parade revelers joining in the party dance routine.
“The music came on. I became possessed by the rhythm,” he said Monday. “We decided, ‘Let’s get this rolling.’ ”
Dancing in the streets doesn’t much comport with the image of a dour, seen-it-all homicide detective in a city that has often ranked as America’s most murderous place. In his day job, Harbin said, he’s been working on the still-unsolved murder of New Orleans filmmaker Helen Hill, who was shot outside her Marigny home on North Rampart Street home in 2007.
“I guess it’s the yin and yang of my personality, what I do,” Harbin said. “It’s about the kids and the families, letting them know I’m approachable. I like to see the smiles and the shock on their faces.”
It wasn’t the first time Harbin’s portly frame has been caught wiggling on the parade route. A video from 2013 on YouTube shows him doing much the same routine; it captured a few thousands views. But this time, Harbin blew up on the Internet.
“I’m a bit surprised,” he said.
Perhaps it’s because he’s stepped up his Wobble game, gaining more confidence in a dance he only learned in late 2012 at one of his daughters’ weddings. Anyway, he’s glad someone noticed his improving moves, he said.
“I’m somewhat social when it comes to dancing,” Harbin dryly admitted.
Packing an ample paunch, a pair of swivel hips and, of course, heat, Harbin can’t seem to help himself toward the end of the video. Turning from the pack, he breaks into a semi-robotic solo that stops the group in their tracks.
The detective blamed “a deficiency of focus” for the rogue maneuver. “I gotta pace myself,” he said. “Getting older.”
Harbin, who turns 50 on Wednesday, promised to be on his footloose game Monday evening, when he might just bust out anytime at his assigned spot on St. Charles Avenue and Gen. Pershing Street.
For the Zulu parade on Mardi Gras, Harbin will be stationed — but probably not stationary — on Jackson Avenue.