Super Sunday is one of my favorite days of the year – especially for photos. Some of New Orleans’ 50+ Mardi Gras Indian tribes gather around A.L. Davis Park to show off their incredible suits of feathers, beads, ribbons and treasures. We arrived early to choose from the many food trucks and pop-ups serving everything from red beans and rice to adult beverages served in hollowed-out pineapples. Neighbors and friends gathered in yards and empty lots and around the occasional Rolls Royce, Bentley, or tricked out vintage car. Though we’d all been enjoying sunny, 80-degree weather a day or so before, most bundled up for the grey, windy, 55-degree day.
The Lady Buckjumpers, Baby Dolls, and brass bands led the way for Grammy-nominee Big Chief Monk Boudreaux of the Golden Eagles. Weighing over 100 pounds and costing thousands of dollars, the Uptown tribes’ feather-trimmed suits feature beaded panels portraying battle scenes, ancestors, nature, and local iconography. Downtown tribes add 3-D structures, animals and more.
The creativity, craftsmanship and commitment that go into the beautiful works of art is staggering. One man had actual alligator heads on his headpiece and his suit was made of green gator skin. (I would guess it’s faux, but around here you never know). Queen Tahj outdid herself with a couture-worthy cape-sleeved gown portraying the city and its women, the Crescent City Bridge, a second line parade passing a Mardi-Gras-decorated home, an approaching streetcar and much more. The festive images were provided by local artist Terrance Osborne.
Click here to read more about the origins of the Mardi Gras Indians and the battle for their right to parade.