Super Sunday is easily one of my favorite days of the year as many of the Mardi Gras Indian tribes step out to show off their stunning suits of beads and feathers. I’m always humbled by the craftsmanship and dedication that goes into the staggeringly beautiful suits our neighbors spend the year carefully designing and crafting with elaborately beaded panels often portraying tales of battle and loss. Weighing up to 150 pounds and costing $3000 or more, the suits portray wildlife or a 3-D version of the Taj Mahal or even a tribute to things that “Ain’t dere no more” like the Jax brewery and the Saints “Dome patrol.”
The big surprise this year was the women. Queen Tahj of the Golden Eagles tribe created a gown rather than a suit. She worked her grandmothers earrings and brooches into her sequin top and her long skirt was beaded with the figures of women and children encircling her to represent her community Continue reading
Celebrating Louis Armstrong’s birthday, Satchmo Summerfest kicked off with a sometimes rainy Friday lineup of live music on multiple stages and food. Tents offered shade from the sun and shelter from the showers. Inside the air conditioned Old U.S. Mint, people enjoyed symposiums on Armstrong and related topics.
The day started with The Roots of Music parading down Esplanade. Continue reading
After postponing a week for weather, it was 80 and sunny for Super Sunday, one of my favorite days of the years. Staggeringly beautiful and steeped in culture and history, the Mardi Gras Indians fill the streets on Super Sunday wearing plumed and beaded suits they spent the year carefully designing and crafting, bead by bead. We wandered past Baby Dolls dancing and families helping their Indians dress before selecting a burger and sausage combo and following the proprietor to a nearby truck making giant adult sno-balls. Continue reading
The Krewe of Freret paraded for 40 years until the 1990’s then was rebirthed on the parade route 4 years ago. Many members of the new Krewe are the children of the previous membership. I loved that they opened with traditional Baby Dolls, the inspiration for the adult dance troupes you see in parades today. In Saturday’s parade, those troupes included The Chorus Girl Project, Nyxettes and my vote so far for best new dance krewe of the year – Alter Egos. Between their purple afros and their fun, funky moves, they were an instant crowd favorite. The Dames de Perlage put on a great show with their intricately beaded corsets honoring local “saints” like the fictitious Ignatius Reilly, the very real culinary legend Leah Chase and the surreal Big Freedia. Bearded Oysters’s diaphanous wing-capes and Lucha Krewe’s fight-dance moves filled out the entertainment. Continue reading
As usual, it was hot-as-heck for Satchmo Fest but the music and food were worth the sweat. Celebrating the life and contributions of Louis Armstrong, the festival moved to Jackson Square this year. Like last year, they charged a $5 admission – a move that still has its kinks (like local employees and neighbors can’t just walk in to grab a plate or a cocktail). The festival featured 2 stages with one focusing more on traditional jazz and the main stage offering a few more-modern takes on Satchmo’s sound. Continue reading
Super Bowl-winning Saint, Will Smith, was murdered last week attempting to save his wife’s life after she’d been shot once in each leg. The second line celebrating his life and return home started at the Half Moon Bar, not far from where Smith lost his life, and was headed to the Ooh Poo Pah Doo Bar in the Treme. James Andrews led the band as Baby Dolls, Saints fans and local-born Saint, Keenan Lewis, gathered to hug, dance, sing, pray and cry. The 4 mile parade started with a moment of silence and some words of hope in front of the memorial that’s been climbing up the fence and spreading across the sidewalk. Continue reading