I’ve been researching and studying the amazingly, enigmatic city that is New Orleans.
From the birth of Jazz, to Hurricane Katrina to Mardi Gras; this city is full of layers of significant history and people. From its deep-rooted French culture, due to the Louisiana Purchase, intertwined with echoes of African Voodoo carried through the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade; there is something about this town that is totally fascinating and complex.
One of the most interesting things I’ve come to understand and love about this city other than its music scene (New Orleans Bounce music, primarily), is the history of the Mardi Gras Indians. Their inception started over 100 years ago from a group of Louisiana natives whose ancestors were of African and Native American decent. As most Americans know, miscegenation between these two groups were very common during the days of slavery and colonialism. And New Orleans is one of the only cities in America that has recognized the importance of this and its affect on their culture as a city within Louisiana.
The Mardi Gras Indians prepare all year for Fat Tuesday. Meetings, practices, sewing sessions, collecting money and resources for their group/organization/tribe etc… People see the second lines and parades, they stand in awe of their extravagant costumes and the moving vibrations of their singing and chanting, yet, rarely understand the hard work and dedication that it takes to do what these people do. And it’s all in the name of tradition, strengthening their legacy and paying homage to their forefathers and foremothers who evoked this special tradition years ago.
I plan on attending Mardi Gras 2017 and cannot wait to have a taste of New Orleans and Louisiana culture for myself. I look forward to seeing the Chiefs chanting their tribal songs throughout the streets, seeing the legendary Baby Dolls dancing in their satin corsets and umbrellas and just seeing people from all over the world having a good time. But for now, I’m going to enjoy the King Cake that I bought from my local bakery and savor in its flavors until February 28th, 2017.
“Ya heard me?!”