The Magic of New Orleans

I am just back from a full 10 days in New Orleans. The city never, ever fails to disappoint. Little did I know when I scheduled the trip that  St. Patricks day and Super Sunday would fall during that time. New Orleans is notorious for their masked parades and celebrations. Learning more about the Mardi Gras Indians and their long history was a gift. When I served in the Lower Ninth Ward post Katrina, I kept hearing how all the artifacts, costumes and traditions were "gone." I am happy to report the tradition is back in full force and quite spectacular.  

Wondering what this is all about?

Text  is provided byWikipedia...

Mardi Gras Indians are African-American Carnival revelers in New Orleans, Louisiana, who dress up for Mardi Gras and other special occasions in suits influenced by Native American ceremonial apparel.

 The idea of letting loose and embracing traditional African music and dance is a backbone of the Mardi Gras Indians practice.
Aside from Mardi Gras Day, the most significant day for the Mardi Gras Indians is their Super Sunday. The New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian Council always has their Indian Sunday on the third Sunday of March, around St. Joseph's Day. 
Mardi Gras Indian suits cost thousands of dollars in materials alone and can weigh upwards of one hundred pounds. A suit usually takes between six to nine months to plan and complete.

  Each Indian designs and creates his own suit; elaborate bead patches depict meaningful and symbolic scenes. Beads, feathers, and sequins are integral parts of a Mardi Gras Indian suit. 

Collectively, their organizations are called "tribes". There are about 38 tribes. They range in size from a half dozen to several dozen members. The tribes are largely independent, but a pair of umbrella organizations loosely coordinate the Uptown Indians and the Downtown Indians.

If you want to learn more, check out The House of Dance and Feathers website, a cultural museum based on Ronald Lewis's participation in the culture of the Mardi Gras Indians and the keeper of the history.

                           St. Joseph Altar